Sunday Jews by Hortense Calisher

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Synopsis

Hortense Calisher has been hailed as "incisive, intricate and fiendishly intelligent" (The Nation) and "among the most literate practitioners of modern American fiction" (Saturday Review).
In this new novel, Calisher explores a family united in blood yet divided by ideas. The elder son Charles hopes to be a Supreme Court justice; the family beauty Nell has children by different lovers; the art expert Erika has altered her appearance but still insists on being custodian of the family's Jewishness; and Zach, the artist and manipulator, has two wives. The mother of these disparate siblings is Zipporah-Zoe, an academic, infamous in Israel, born of a well-to-do Boston background but no longer rich. She is intellectual, yet bound by memory to the past, a past that never quite dies.
Challenging them is Bert, the grandson, who becomes a rabbi despite his ambivalence toward Jewish institutions. The buried history of their most significant Sunday visitor, Lev, resurfaces when he brings Debra, the young Sabra nurse and war veteran, to them as his wife--and then vanishes.
A compelling family saga that resonates with today's issues of national and religious identity, Sunday Jews is a tour de force from a writer whose fiction has been compared with that of Eudora Welty and Henry James, and whose ability to delineate our lives is unparalleled.
 

About Hortense Calisher

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Hortense Calisher is past president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and of PEN. Three-time finalist for the National Book Award, she is the author of many novels and short stories. She lives in New York City.
 
Published March 1, 2003 by San Val. 704 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Calisher is the bridesmaid of contemporary American fiction: for more than 50 years an imposingly brilliant stylist whose densely declarative and analytical, richly woven fiction has never achieved the canonical status awarded to many writers far less accomplished.

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Publishers Weekly

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Zipporah Zangwill's marriage to Peter Duffy is mixed not because they come from different faiths, but because they disbelieve in different deities—Zipporah in the Jewish God, Peter in the Catholic one.

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