The Frumkiss Family Business

Author: Michael Wex
Publisher: Knopf Canada
ISBN: 9780307367846
Release Date: 2010-08-24
Genre: Fiction

Thomas Mann meets Mordecai Richler in this outstanding novel of great intellect and humour that already reads like a classic. The Frumkiss family doesn't look much different from any of the others in Toronto's Bathurst Manor. Grandpa survived the Holocaust; Grandma the Second came from Poland at the age of five. Dad's a foot doctor; Mom is dead, and her mother — Grandma Number One —died while giving birth to her in Kazakhstan. Her three kids — the oldest is forty-two — are as frustrated and directionless as most baby boomers with no real financial worries. One's in Toronto, there's one in the suburbs and the third lives in Israel. As far as the Frumkisses know, all that distinguishes them from anybody else is that Grandpa is a famous Yiddish writer who ended up working for the CBC. But Grandpa's death sets off a chain of events that force the Frumkisses to see how different their family is from all the others. The Frumkiss Family Business, Michael Wex's brilliant and hilarious new novel, is a family saga for the twenty-first century, a lovingly accurate portrait of middle-class Canadian life at the turn of the century and of the Toronto neighbourhood that has produced such famous Canadians as Howie Mandel and Wex himself. Imagine Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks without the stodgy Germans or The Brothers Karamazov with only one brother. Finally, a novel that does for Toronto what Mordecai Richler's books did for Montreal. From the Hardcover edition.

The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Jewish Cultures

Author: Nadia Valman
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781135048549
Release Date: 2017-07-14
Genre: Literary Criticism

The Routledge Handbook to Contemporary Jewish Cultures explores the diversity of Jewish cultures and ways of investigating them, presenting the different methodologies, arguments and challenges within the discipline. Divided into themed sections, this book considers in turn: How the individual terms "Jewish" and "culture" are defined, looking at perspectives from Anthropology, Music, Literary Studies, Sociology, Religious Studies, History, Art History, and Film, Television, and New Media Studies. How Jewish cultures are theorized, looking at key themes regarding power, textuality, religion/secularity, memory, bodies, space and place, and networks. Case studies in contemporary Jewish cultures. With essays by leading scholars in Jewish culture, this book offers a clear overview of the field and offers exciting new directions for the future.

Shlepping the Exile

Author: Michael Wex
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 9781466856219
Release Date: 2014-02-18
Genre: Fiction

Svelte and supple as unleavened bread, Shlepping the Exile rends the shmaltz from Jewish fiction and replaces it with a pound of real flesh. It's the story of Yoine Levkes, a hassidic boy of the Canadian prairies, his refugee parents, and the Jewish community of Coalbanks, Alberta in the late 1950s. Confronted with dying people, an ailing culture, the perils of near-orphanhood and the allures of Sabina Mandelbroit, whose family doesn't keep the Sabbath, Yoine can no longer tell whether he's a human being or a loot-bag of conflicting traditions. He's too religious to be 'normal,' too 'normal' not to realize this, and too much of a kid to be able to make any sense of it. Shlepping the Exile is Michael Wex's inside portrait of orthodox, post-Holocaust Judaism in a place that it never expected to be.

Rhapsody in Schmaltz

Author: Michael Wex
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 9781466882652
Release Date: 2016-04-12
Genre: History

Bagels, deli sandwiches and gefilte fish are only a few of the Jewish foods to have crossed into American culture and onto American plates. Rhapsody in Schmaltz traces the history and social impact of the cuisine that Yiddish-speaking Jews from Central and Eastern Europe brought to the U.S. and that their American descendants developed and refined. The book looks at how and where these dishes came to be, how they varied from region to region, the role they played in Jewish culture in Europe, and the role that they play in Jewish and more general American culture and foodways today. Rhapsody in Schmaltz traces the pathways of Jewish food from the Bible and Talmud, to Eastern Europe, to its popular landing pads in North America today. With an eye for detail and a healthy dose of humor, Michael Wex also examines how these impact modern culture, from temple to television. He looks at Diane Keaton's pastrami sandwich in Annie Hall, Andy Kaufman's stint as Latke on Taxi and Larry David's Passover seder on Curb Your Enthusiasm, shedding light on how Jewish food permeates our modern imaginations. Rhapsody in Schmaltz is a journey into the sociology, humor, history, and traditions of food and Judaism.