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This unprecedented collection brings together the major Jewish American writers of the past fifty years as they examine issues of identity and how they've made their work respond.
E. L. Doctorow questions the very notion of the Jewish American writer, insisting that all great writing is secular and universal. Allegra Goodman embraces the categorization, arguing that it immediately binds her to her readers. Dara Horn, among the youngest of these writers, describes the tendency of Jewish writers to focus on anti-Semitism and advocates a more creative and positive way of telling the Jewish story. Thane Rosebaum explains that as a child of Holocaust survivors, he was driven to write in an attempt to reimagine the tragic endings in Jewish history.
Spanning three generations of Jewish writing in America, these essays—by turns nostalgic, comic, moving, and deeply provocative—constitute an invaluable investigation into the thinking and the work of some of America's most important writers.
“Imagine eavesdropping on a conversation among some of your favorite writers. You find yourself fully absorbed by one until the next one, equally compelling, steals you away. That was the experience for me in reading Who We Are, an important collection of essays about writing, Judaism, and the creative spirit.” —Ari L. Goldman, author of The Search for God at Harvard
“Is an ‘ethnic’ writer a real writer? Anyone who has occasion to wonder will find good company in these essays, which tangle so piercingly with freedom.” —Gish Jen, author of The Love Wife
“For anyone interested in the current boom in Jewish American writing, this book should prove indispensable. The writers speak for themselves in stylish and captivating autobiographical essays, demonstrating beyond any doubt how gifted they really are.” —Morris Dickstein, author of Leopards in the Temple and A Mirror in the Roadway