Jewish Noir Reviewed on New York Journal of Books
New York Journal of Books
January 19th, 2016
Jewish Noir isn’t for the faint-hearted nor is it for the typical noir fan, and not due to the Judaic symbolism, mythology, or history, but rather because Jewish noir, as it is defined by editor Kenneth Wishnia through the short stories he collects in this anthology, is not the typical detective and damsel-in-distress trope readers may expect.
Wishnia has gathered diverse writers to create a dark and bitter selection of short stories featuring Jewish tropes, themes, and characters. Not all the stories deal with the Holocaust, like “Feeding the Crocodile” by Moe Prager, and those that can do so in surprising ways, such as “Blood Diamonds” by Melissa Yi. Most of the short stories in this collection are appearing for the first time. There is a wide variety to the stories from that of the misunderstood professor who holds out for his integrity but snaps, to the magical realist “The Golem of Jericho” in which a golem may or may not have been behind some murders.
Truly, the majority of these stories are dark and disturbing on a psychological level. Fans of horror may enjoy this new genre, and a reader doesn’t need to be Jewish to enjoy the tales within, though some understanding of Judaism and its mythology may help make the stories resonate more with their symbolism and references.
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