La Dolce Vita

The Free World, David Bezmozgis’ novel about a family of Soviet émigrés stuck in Rome waiting for visas to North America, explores the joys—and costs—of newfound liberty

Purgatorio

As a child, writer David Bezmozgis was among the Soviet refugees who waited in a seaside Italian village for a visa to the U.S. or Canada. His novel The Free World explores the grittier side of life there.

On the Bookshelf

Optimists, pessimists, realists, and the disheartened: new books on Israel

Rooted

Jacqueline Osherow’s latest collection, Whitethorn, offers poems engaged at once with the literature of the Jewish past and the landscape of the American present

On the Bookshelf

Bedeviled: when conscience rebels against the dictates of tradition

Unpacked

In The Cardboard Valise, cartoonist Ben Katchor tries to decode the human impulse toward travel—and rouse the readers of graphic novels from their ‘somnambulistic trance’

Tried and True

In his 1988 novel Fiasco—only now available in English—Hungarian Nobel laureate Imre Kertész imagines an author exhausted by the Holocaust yet unable to write about anything else

On the Bookshelf

Behind the pink tallis: thoughts on Jewish womanhood from Thomas Edison to Gwyneth Paltrow

Words Fail

In her new collection, Tonight No Poetry Will Serve, Adrienne Rich reckons with the question of how to write lyric poetry in the face of war and economic hardship

Makeover

A new Modigliani biography tries to undo the painter’s reputation for drunken excess and bolster his standing as a serious artist

On the Bookshelf

Italian sojourns: from medieval kabbalists to 20th-century refugees

Evil Inclination

In Jerusalem, Jerusalem, James Carroll uses the city as a metaphor for the human tendency to combine religion with violence

On the Bookshelf

From Hodu to Kush: anticipating Purim with books on Persian food, lust-filled kings, and biblical heroines

Dreams of Zion

A new book examines black, Jewish, and Irish quests for national redemption, identifying their century-old similarities but ignoring their more recent differences

On the Bookshelf

There are Jews everywhere: books on American Jewish communities from Washington, D.C., to Albuquerque, and others on American Jewish educators

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