Among the books President Obama has taken to read during his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard is David Grossman’s novel To the End of the Land. Daphne Merkin reviewed it for Tablet Magazine; Liel Leibovitz took issue with Grossman and other prominent left-wing Israeli novelists; Grossman himself wrote about his literary influences in Nextbook.org, Tablet Magazine’s predecessor; and I discussed George Packer’s profile of Grossman.
Which other novels by Jews should the president read?
• Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story. Because Obama’s main job is to “win the future,” he should probably have a sense of what a future that he has lost looks like, and this bitter, dystopic novel will provide it. Plus, it can’t hurt Obama with the Russian vote.
• Amy Waldman’s The Submission. This hot new novel imagines that the winning design for the 9/11 memorial turns out to have been the work of a Muslim-American. So, um, it would seem relevant.
• Norman Mailer’s Armies of the Night. Okay, so this is technically “history as a novel” and “the novel as history,” but still, Mailer’s depiction of the fully fractured society of the late ‘60s is what Obama should be shooting not to have happen on his watch.
• Franz Kafka’s Amerika. For an, er, different perspective on the country he leads.
• Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. If one of the United States is going to become the Jewish national homeland, Obama should probably be kept aware.
• Philip Roth’s The Human Stain. “I myself dreamed of a mammoth banner, dadaistically draped like a Christo wrapping from one end of the White House to the other and bearing the legend A HUMAN BEING LIVES HERE.”
Obama Takes Along Novel by David Grossman on Vacation [JPost]
Related: Consolation Prize [Tablet Magazine]
Pen Pals [Tablet Magazine]
Books That Have Read Me [Nextbook.org]
The Unconsoled [The New Yorker]
Earlier: The Tailor David Grossman