The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Sorry State of Jewish Fiction

I’m sorry to say that most Jewish Fiction Novels are down
right wretched . . . The fact that there seem to be only three general story
types is a side issue; Arabs, Nazis, or perhaps the Communists (with the
occasional Mafia thrown in) against a few Yeshiva Bochurim, Kolel Yungeliet or
Mosad or better yet Communist Arab Nazis who work for the Mafia trying to
destroy a Kolel who are stopped by Bochurim who also work for Mosad (I’m
waiting for a story about Communist Nazis who work for Arabian Mafia against a
Mosad agent who poses as a Yeshiva bochur).
I can live with all that.
It’s the simple fact that these stories are literally illogical.
The authors may be able to learn a K’tzos HaChoshen, but they seem to have no sense of time or reality. What so ever.
Let’s look at the last two that I read:
“Entanglement” by Hirschson seems to exist entirely outside
the time-space continuum.
At times the trip from Monsey to New York City takes an entire day, yet inexplicably at other times characters are able to travel from New York to
Los Angeles by Train in a matter of a few hours –with
enough time left over to catch a flight to Brazil that evening.
Even better, one character is able get involved with Mafia,
run away to Montreal, study in a Shul for a considerable time alone, find a
chavrusa, marry the Chavrusa’s sister in Law, father a child and bring him to
his bris . . . all in the matter of three months. At the same time his friend
is beaten within a few inches of life, lie for days on end in the forest in a
coma, go through months of painful recovery, forget everything from his past,
enter high school and then law school . . .
“Time Bomb” by Weinstock is better, slightly.
One scene goes slightly akin to this:
Selim, the brilliant Muslim terrorist sat in a cave in Chechnya
plotting the come down of the Russian occupation . . . His Cell-phone rang.
“Yes, Duvidel . . . this is your Bubby calling.”
“Bubby, I told you never to call me here . . . besides my name is Selim
“Duvidel, don’t be silly. Tell me are you taking care of your health? I
heard that it’s very cold there in the winters –are you wearing the sweaters
that I sent you?”
“But Bubby, I’m busy throwing of
the yoke of the Russian occupiers by kidnapping the Pope . . .”
“Also, I sent you those cookies
you like in the mail; they should be arriving in your cave soon. I hope they’re
still fresh . . .
“But . . .”
“ . . . You can even give some of
the cookies to your friends –Kareem, and Abdul!”
“Fine Bubby . . . I love you.”
(Ok . . . I took
little artistic license in the dialogue . . .
but the basic give and take is the same)
I’ve written a new Jewish Novel. It’s called “The Chavrusa” . . .
I only have two scenes written, but I figure I’ll make something up else around them and have it published by next Thursday.
Berel Finikelovitch turned to his Chavrusa (study partner) Moishele and asked him,
“The Communist Nazis have hired Arab Mafioso’s to kill us, Chas V’chalila! Only yesterday
I woke up from the beating that put me with in an inch of life, and I’m afraid
to face them again . . .”
Moishele, stopped for a moment, pushing his blond peios behind his ears.
“Berel, two words: Da’as Torah. Da’as Torah.”

. . .

Sam Kramer, the hot-shot American cop, snapped handcuffs
onto the arm of the dastardly terrorist Abdul Kareem Schmidt.
Berel came out of the shadows,
“Sam, allow me to tell you who Abdul really is . . . Abdul is none other then Shmerel Cohen. My Chavrusa from Yeshiva . . . He was angry that I left him to learn with Moishe .
. . so he decided spend the last 15 yeats trying to make all of this trouble.”
Sam grimaced, “But Berel, how do you know all this?”
Berel reached into his pocket,
“I’m Berel Finkielovitch – The 17 year old Israeli Mosad agent. Now I must catch my 3 hour train ride from New York to Los Angeles Via Alaska."


Sefirah said...

best post yet, and mostly because you've stated the truth. Every single religious jewish fiction book that i've ever picked up to read - i put back down after the first page or so. Theyre so dumb i feel like an idiot while reading it. We definitly need someone to come in and change that (*cough* you).

That one book, Aish. that was hard for me to read - i had to stay away from it for 5 months, and i finally struggled through the whole book. it was difficult, and i was biting my nails and pulling out my hair trying to actually finish it..

so untill a good one comes out - im sticking to my secular novels.

A Simple Jew said...

Indeed, religious Jewish fiction has a LONG way to go. I don't touch the stuff personally.

Mottel said...

I love a good Kvetch -so why not about a bad book?

Mottel said...

How about Historical novels?
Perhaps it's time we knew or Karaim from our Krimchaki, or Auschwitz from Baba Yar?

Yossi said...

nice post. although your scenes.. I'm sure I've read those as plotlines in some book or other... :)