Nathan Englander’s long-awaited follow-up to his amazing story collection For the Relief on Unbearable Urges will be published later this month.
His first novel, The Ministry of Special Cases, is about a Jewish man — named Kaddish Poznan — in Argentina in the mid-1970s whose son is “disappeared” during the country’s unrest.
Englander kicked off what’s sure to be a publicity frenzy with a very funny interview in last weekend’s New York Times Magazine.
For a first novel, â€œThe Ministry of Special Casesâ€? seems unusually inventive, avoiding the familiar account of adolescent angst and giving little sense of your own history as an Orthodox Jew educated at a yeshiva in suburban Long Island.
Itâ€™s true. In terms of personal experience, my only other option was to set this novel at the Roosevelt Field mall. But it would still be about the same thing â€” community and identity and injustice. It would still be about Kaddish.
Pronounced: KAH-dish, Origin: Hebrew, usually referring to the Mourner’s Kaddish, the Jewish prayer recited in memory of the dead.
Pronounced: yuh-SHEE-vuh or yeh-shee-VAH, Origin: Hebrew, a traditional religious school, where students mainly study Jewish texts.