Last year, Tablet’s publisher Morton Landowne reflected on what it was like to read Herman Wouk over the span of many decades, from City Boy (1948) to Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author, Wouk’s recent memoir. In his essay, Landowne writes about becoming a senior citizen himself, and how Wouk’s career and novels, over the years, have traced history (World War II epics The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, e.g.) to ultimately offering insight into what it’s like to live to 100. At the conclusion of his memoir, Wouk writes: “The view from 100 is…illuminating and surprising. With this book I am free: from contracts, from long-deferred to-do books, in short, from producing any more words. I have said my say, done my work.”
Reflected Landowne: “How many of us can, in all honesty, claim that?”
On Saturday, Wouk turns 102. On this day, perhaps take some time to read about Wouk’s incredible career, which includes American classics like 1951’s The Caine Munity and Marjorie Morningstar (1955). Consider reading Adam Kirsch on Wouk’s memoir and 2012 novel The Lawgiver, or Rachel Gordon on This Is My God (1959), “a foundational text for American postwar Modern Orthodoxy, and for the emancipated Jewish literature in its wake.”
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.