The Last Jew by Yoram Kaniuk
A Novel

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews



Innovative novelist Yoram Kaniuk takes us from the scorched earth of mid-century Europe, to the arid plains of the Holy Land, to the urban bustle of the American Diaspora, compressing the rise and fall of the Jews into the enigmatic character of one Ebenezer Schneerson. Following the ravages of World War II, Ebenezer finds that although he has no recollection of his family or childhood, he can, at will, recite Einstein’s theory of relativity, the entire canon of Yiddish poetry, and the genealogical histories of any number of extinguished shtetls; he has somehow become the final repository for all of Jewish culture. Samuel Lipker, a fellow survivor and crass opportunist, makes money off of Ebenezer’s macabre talents, trotting him around Europe to regale spooked cabaret audiences with his uncanny memory. Appearing in English for the first time, The Last Jew is an ingenious tapestry alive with narrative acrobatics and stylistic audacity. Alternately tragic, absurd, heartbreaking, and bitter — not unlike the Bible itself — it is a profound exploration of Jewish identity and the multitude of disparate, often contradictory shapes it has taken in the last century.

About Yoram Kaniuk

See more books from this Author
Yoram Kaniuk (1930-2013) was one of Israel’s leading writers. After being wounded in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, he moved to New York for 10 years. A novelist, painter, and journalist, Kaniuk published novels, memoirs, short stories, nonfiction, and books for children and young adults. Named an Officer in France's Order of Arts and Letters in 2012, Kaniuk was also the recipient of the Méditerranée Étranger (2000), the Newman Prize (2006), the Kugel Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2008), the France-Israel Foundation Award (2010), and the Sapir Prize (2010). In 2011, he received an Honorary Doctorate from Tel Aviv University. Kaniuk’s books have been published in 20 languages.   Anthony Berris was born in the UK and has lived in Israel for most of his life, working as a teacher and freelance translator.
Published January 10, 2006 by Grove Press. 528 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Last Jew

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

No sooner does Kaniuk establish this stunning paradox than he replicates it, developing at exhaustive length two conflicting versions of Lipker’s life (as a prosperous American theater impresario, and as a freedom fighter in the new Israel, who takes the name of his ancestor, a 15th-century kabba...

| Read Full Review of The Last Jew: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

In this epic novel (originally published in Hebrew in 1982), Kaniuk, one of Israel's foremost writers, attempts both to cut through and to portray the lingering fog of WWII, the aftereffects of the holocaust and the conflicts surrounding the creation of Israel.

| Read Full Review of The Last Jew: A Novel

Historical Novel Society

This repository of knowledge earns him the title of “The Last Jew,” and incites others—including a German writer, a Jewish teacher and a fellow Shoah (Holocaust) survivor—to try to profit from Schneerson’s bizarre talent.

| Read Full Review of The Last Jew: A Novel

Reader Rating for The Last Jew

An aggregated and normalized score based on 6 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review