Fiction. Jewish Studies. This Michael Blumenthal novel was chosen by Elie Wiesel, Thomas Kenneally, and Merrill Joan Gerber as winner of Hadassah Magazine’s prestigious Ribelow Prize as Best Jewish Novel of the Year in 1994. In its all-too-short lifespan, it received rave reviews from Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly and glowing tributes from such writers as Lorrie Moore, Tim O’Brien, Jhumpa Lahiri, Robert Coles, and Leslie Epstein. Unfortunately, just three months after the novel’s publication, its publisher, Zoland Books, was forced to close for economic reasons, and this brilliant novel by one of America’s finest poets hardly even saw the light of day. It is now available for the first time in paperback allowing it a second–really a first–life. Once you read it, I am sure you will agree that it more than deserves the kind of critical and popular attention which–due to the unfortunate circumstances that befell its original publisher–it never received.
Michael Blumenthal holds the Darden Distinguished Endowed Chair in Creative Writing at Old Dominion University. He is author of eight other poetry books, one novel, one memoir, an essay collection, and translations of poems by Peter Kantor. Publications include The New Yorker, and Paris Review. A graduate of Cornell Law School and formerly Director of Creative Writing at Harvard, he is the author of No Hurry: Poems 2000-2012 (Etruscan Press). the memoir All My Mothers and Fathers (Harper Collins, 2002), and of Dusty Angel (BOA Editions, 1999), which won the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award. His collection of essays from Central Europe, When History Enters the House, was published in 1998. A frequent translator from German, French and Hungarian, he practices psychotherapy with Anglophone expatriates in Budapest and spends summers at his house in a small village near the shores of Lake Balaton in Hungary. In May of 2007, he spent a month in South Africa working with orphaned infant chacma baboons at the C.A.R.E. foundation in Phalaborwa, an experience about which he has written for Natural History and The Washington Post Magazine. He is currently a Visiting Professor of Law at the West Virginia University College of Law, where he has taught since 2009.
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More on Blumenthal~
“I write poetry,” Blumenthal once commented, “quite unashamedly, because I believe, as Howard Nemerov has said, that ‘the beautiful is still among the possible,’ and that it redeems us…”
“Vendler pointed out that while Blumenthal’s subjects, such as the Holocaust or mental doubt, might be termed “tragic,” the approach he takes in his poetry creates “poems exhilarating to read, full of lifts and turbulence.” Blumenthal’s later books have also been praised for their gentle wit and penetrating insight.”