Advancing diversity and conservation in publishing
ABOUT MANDEL VILAR PRESS: MVP (www.mvpress.org/) – the nonprofit publishing arm of Americas for Conservation and the Arts –is dedicated to connecting the literature of the Americas by uniting the works of the best writers of Latin and Latino America with the leading ethnic and minority writers of North America. Founded in 2015, MVP brings together the talents of two experienced editors, Robert Mandel and Irene Vilar. For two decades Vilar and Mandel’s collaboration resulted in the publication of important books and translations on Latin American, Latino, Jewish, and African American literature, art, politics, and culture. Robert Mandel and Irene Vilar successfully launched several major book series that resulted in the publication of over six hundred titles at Syracuse University Press from 1995 to 2000, the University of Wisconsin Press between 2000 and 2006 and Texas Tech University Press from 2008 to 2014. Their longstanding collaboration now continues with the establishment of MVP. Robert A. Mandel, Publisher [email protected]
MANDEL VILAR PRESS BOOKS FALL 2016 FRONTLIST Nava Semel | Isra Isle Pedro Cabiya | Wicked Weeds Dick Cluster | Kill the Ampaya! Beth Kissileff | Questioning Return Blume Lumpel | Oedipus in Brooklyn Andrew Potok | 13 Stradomska Street: A Memoir of Exile and Return
8 9 10 11 12
RECENTLY PUBLISHED Jay Neugeboren | Max Baer and the Star of David Thane Rosenbaum | How Sweet It Is! Alan Lelchuck | Searching for Wallenberg Alan Lelchuck| Breaking Ground FORTHCOMING MY NAME IS/ME LLAMO Jose Gonzalez | My Name is Jose Gonzalez Adrianna Quintero | My Name is Adrianna Quintero Lorraine Netro | My Name is Lorraine Netro CLIMATE OF HOPE ANTHOLOGIES Mark Magana, Chris Espinoza, Irene Vilar | The Green Latinos Anthology Carolyn Finney & Irene Vilar | Brown Voices Rise Homero Aridjis | News of the Earth YOUNG ECO FICTION Edna Iturralde | Verde Fue Mi Selva Green Was My Jungle Homero Aridjis | La Monarca The Monarch
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1 | MVP Catalog
ISRA ISLE A Novel By Nava Semel
Translated from Hebrew by Jessica Cohen Publishers Weekly Fall 2016 Announcements for SF, Fantasy and Horror selects Isra Isle to its top 10 list of recommended books! Isra Isle named as one of the 15 Works to Watch Out For in 2016, Rachel Cordasco, Speculative Fiction in Translation This novel is inspired by a true historical event. Before Theodore Herzl there was Mordecai Manuel Noah, an American journalist, diplomat, playwright, and visionary. In September 1825 he bought Grand Island, downriver from Niagara Falls, from the local Native Americans as a place of refuge for the Jewish people and called it “Ararat.” But no Jews came. What if they had followed Noah’s call? In Nava Semel’s alternate history Jews from throughout the world flee persecution and come to Ararat. Isra Isle becomes the smallest state in the US. Israel does not exist, and there was no Holocaust. In exploring this what-if scenario, Semel stimulates new thinking about memory, Jewish/Israeli identity, attitudes toward minorities, women in top political positions, and the place of cultural heritage. The novel is divided into three parts. Part 1, a detective story, opens in September 2001 when Liam Emanuel, an Israeli descendant of Noah, learns about and inherits this island. He leaves Israel intending to reclaim this “Promised Land” in America. Shortly after he arrives in America Liam disappears. Simon T. Lenox, a Native American police investigator, tries to recover Israel’s “missing son.” Part 2 flashes back to the time and events surrounding Mordecai Noah’s purchase of the island from the local Native Americans. Part 3 poses an alternate history: the rise of a successful modern Jewish city-state, Isra Isle, on the northern New York and Canadian border—a metropolis that looks remarkably like New York City both before and after 9/11—in which the female governor of Isra Isle campaigns to become president of the United States.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nava Semel, born in Israel in 1954, is the author of sixteen books, including Becoming Gershona, winner of the 1990 National Jewish Book Award; Flying Lessons, a cross-over novel, published in 1995 and chosen as one of the best young adults novels in Germany; and her most acclaimed novel, And the Rat Laughed, published in Hebrew in 2001, and in English in 2008. Semel also writes plays, opera libretti, poetry, and screenplays. Her works have been translated into many languages and published in many countries. Among her numerous awards she received the 1996 Israeli Prime Minister’s Award for Literature, the 1994 Women Writers of the Mediterranean Award in France, and the 2006 Women of the Year in Literature of the City of Tel Aviv. Semel was a member of the board of governors of Yad Vashem for many years. She also served on the board of directors of the New Foundation for Television and Cinema. She is married to Noam Semel, director general of the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv, and has three children. She lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Jessica Cohen, the translator, was born in England in 1973, moved with her family to Israel in 1980, and to the United States in 1997. She now lives in Denver, Colorado. Cohen has worked with some of Israel’s finest writers, including David Grossman, Etgar Keret, Assaf Gavron, Rutu Modan, Amir Gutfreund, Yael Hedaya, Ronit Matalon, and Tom Segev, as well as with prominent screenwriters such as Ari Folman and Ron Leshem. All of her translations have been published in English by leading US publishers. Publication Date: October 25, 2016 October 2016 256 pages October 2016 256 pages
Paperback with flaps E-book
2 | MVP Catalog
$16.95 $ 9.99
WICKED WEEDS, A Zombie Novel By Pedro Cabiya Translated by Jessica Powell
Wicked Weeds named to top ten forthcoming books in science fiction, fantasy and horror by Publishers Weekly, in the Spring 2016 Announcements. Isra Isle named as one of the 15 Works to Watch Out For in 2016, Rachel Cordasco, Speculative Fiction in Translation
“You know what’s been missing in your life? A work of Caribbean noir and science fiction! in Wicked Weeks, a smart and successful zombie desperately searches for the formula that would reverse his “zombie-hood” and turn him into a “real person.”
Rachel Cordasco, Tor.com, Speculative Fiction in Translation: 15 Works to Watch Out For in 2016
Set at the contact zones between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, this is a polyphonic novel, an intense and sometimes funny pharmacopeia of love lost and humanity regained; a most original combination of Caribbean noir and science-fiction addressing issues of global relevance including novel takes on ecological/apocalyptical imbalance bound to make an impact. A Caribbean zombie, smart, gentlemanly, financially independent, and a top executive in an important pharmaceutical company, becomes obsessed with finding the formula that would reverse his condition and allow him to become “a real person.” In the process, three of his closest collaborators (cerebral and calculating Isadore, wide-eyed and sentimental Mathilde, and rambunctious Patricia), guide the reluctant and baffled scientist through the unpredictable intersections of love, passion, empathy, and humanity. But the playful maze of jealousy and amorous intrigue that a living being would find easy and fun to negotiate, represents an insurmountable tangle of obscure intentions and dangerous ambiguities for our “undead” protagonist. Wicked Weeds is put together from Isadore’s “scrapbook,” where she has collected her boss’s scientific goals and existential agony; her own reflections about growing up a Haitian descendant in the Dominican Republic and what it really means to be human; police reports; field journal entries; her great-aunt Sandrine’s heart-rending journey from rural Haiti to urban Dominican Republic as a restavek; and a wealth of oral lore. The end result is a genre unique in its class: a precise combination of Caribbean noir and science-fiction Latin American style, that is, a work of speculative fiction full of humor, sociological pursuits, and in-depth explorations into religious syncretism and its survival in the modern world. Wicked Weeds, A Zombie Novel combines Cabiya's expertise in fiction, graphic novels and film to create a memorable literary zombie novel of a dead man's search for his lost humanity that can now take its place alongside other leading similar novels like Jonathan Mayberry's Patient Zero, S.G. Browne's Breathers: A Zombie's Lament, Daryl Gregory's Raising Sony Mayhall, World War Z by Max Brooks, and The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell. As for the novel's immersion in orality and Caribbean folk traditions and noir it can very well align with Wade Davis' The Serpent and the Rainbow and Karen Russell's St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pedro Cabiya is a poet, screenwriter, and award-winning author of the bestselling novels Trance and The Head, as well as the seminal short-story collections Historias tremendas (Pen Club Book of the Year) and Historias atroces. He currently resides in the Dominican Republic, where he is dean of Academic Affairs at the American School of Santo Domingo and senior producer at Heart of Gold Films.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Jessica Ernst Powell has published numerous translations of Latin American authors, including Antonio Benítez-Rojo, Jorge Luis Borges, César Vallejo, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Silvina Ocampo, Edgardo Rivera Martínez, María Moreno, Edmundo Paz-Soldán, Liliana Heer, Alan Pauls, and Anna Lidia Vega Serova Paperback with Flaps E-Book
ISBN: 978-1-942134-11-4; ISBN: 978-1-942134-12-1
3 | MVP Catalog
$16.95 $ 9.99
Kill the Ámpaya!
The Best Latin American Baseball Fiction edited and translated by Dick Cluster
These are stories we have lived, stories we have heard from family and friends, teachers and teammates, doctors and priests. Sometimes they are funny, sometimes cruel or violent, but in the end they are part of our culture that makes us act the way we do. They make me think of the millions of stories that got lost behind us and make me wonder, why did I get to see my dream come true? – Omar Vizquel (major league shortstop, 1989-2012). Another blurb from Benjamin José "Bengie" Molina, nicknamed "Big Money", is a former Major League Baseball catcher and a former first base coach and catching instructor for the Texas Rangers. Today, although the influence of on the sport by African Americans such as Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays are well documented, the impact and growing dominance of Latinos in baseball with such greats as Adolfo Luque, Minnie Miñoso, Louis Aparicio, Roberto Clemente, Rod Carew, Tony Perez, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Dave Concepcion is often overlooked. Dick Cluster has edited, translated, and collected nineteen of best short baseball stories by major Latin American writers over the past three decades and collected them in the first of its kind English language anthology. The stories range in style from the highly literary to the most straightforward—all inventive, entertaining and revealing facets of the place of baseball in Latin America. Themes include baseball and politics, what-ifs verging on the supernatural, fandom and ambition, glimpses of rural life, and the game’s meaning for women. This anthology also attempted to balance the inclusion of stories in terms of nations of origin. There are five pieces each from Cuba and Dominican Republic, three from Venezuela, three from Puerto Rico, and one each from Mexico and Nicaragua. Chronologically, all the works are from 1989 (Padura’s “The Wall”) or later, with the exception of “The Glory of Mamporal” (1935, a true classic with such staying power in Venezuela that it was made into a movie sixty-two years later, in 1997). In most of the stories in this translated volume, baseball appears in the foreground or the background, as part of the local social fabric or as a metaphor for anything from existential choice to sexual orientation to divine will. Teams from rival towns compete in the bushest of bush leagues. Fans and schemers deploy supernatural powers — or are they scientific? — to swing the outcomes of professional games. A girl who wants to play in little league confronts both sexism and rural poverty. A coastal region faces floods and its ball club’s fall from pennant winner to cellar dweller. After a poet and a catcher meet and dance at a party, will diamond tales or recited verses provide the sauce for their one-night stand? In the story set in Yankee Stadium, what takes center stage is the plight of an African ballplayer and the trauma in his past.
ABOUT THE EDITOR AND TRANSLATOR
Dick Cluster, the editor and translator of this collection is the co-author of History of Havana (Palgrave, 2010). He is also the author of the novels Return to Sender, Repulse Monkey and Obligations of the Bone and the author of nonfiction books including They Should Have That Cup of Coffee and Shrinking Dollars, Vanishing Jobs. He is the translator of Cuban literature and teaches courses on Cuban history, culture and politics at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. ISBN: 978-1-942134-26-8 Paperback ISBN: 978-1-942134 -28-2 Cloth ISBN: 978-1-942134 -27-5 E-Book
$19.95 T Pub Date: April 1, 2017 $29.95 Pub Date: April 1, 2017 $14.95 Pub Date: April 1, 2017
4 | MVP Catalog
QUESTIONING RETURN, A Novel By Beth Kissileff
"The year in Jerusalem you never had! I opened this book intrigued by its skeptical question: why do people become religious? But as Kissileff guided me on my year abroad, I discovered, along with her complicated characters, that the only stupid question is one that has an answer. A sensitive, nuanced, and believable journey to a place, both physical and spiritual, that feels utterly real." —Dara Horn, author of A Guide for the Perplexed, A Novel, The World to Come, All Other Nights, and In the Image, A Novel,
Questioning Return follows an ambitious graduate student as she spends a year in Jerusalem questioning the lives of American Jews who “return” both to Israel itself and to traditional religious practices. Have they changed themselves at all? Are they sincere? Or happier? The unexpected answers and Wendy’s own experiences in Israel, including a bus bombing, a funeral, an unexpected suicide, a love affair, and a lawsuit, lead her to reconsider her own Jewish identity and values. Initially Wendy is certain that she’s on the path to academic glory. But from the moment her plane takes off Wendy is confronted with unanswerable questions of faith and identity. As she becomes immersed in the rhythm of Israeli life, her sense of distance from it fades. Her ability to be a neutral outside observer terminates abruptly when a student commits a horrible act immediately after his interview with her. Wendy is not sure how or if she is implicated in his action, but in her search for understanding, she is led to knowledge and love in unforeseen places. Though Wendy Goldberg planned to ask questions of others, she finds the ones that truly matter are those she asks of herself.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Beth Kissileff is a fiction writer and journalist who spent two years studying in Jerusalem and continues to visit Israel regularly. Her writing appears regularly in publications including the New York Times, The Forward, Tablet, Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. She has received fellowships from the Corporation of Yaddo and the National Endowment for the Humanities and taught at Carleton College, the University of Minnesota, Smith College and Mount Holyoke College. She is also the editor of an anthology in which academics write on the Bible, Reading Genesis: Beginnings. She lives in Pittsburgh and is at work on a volume of short stories and a second novel. ISBN: 978-1-942134-23-7; Paperback with Flaps $19.95; 372 Pages ISBN: 978-1-942134-24-4; E-Book $14.99; 372 Pages
5 | MVP Catalog
OEDIPUS IN BROOKLYN AND OTHER STORIES by Blume Lempel
Translated from Yiddish by Ellen Cassedy and Yermiyahu Ahron Taub Co-published with DRYAD PRESS Ellen Cassedy and Yermiyahu Ahron Taub on encountering Blume Lempel’s stories: When we began reading and translating, we didn’t know we were going to find a mother drawn into an incestuous relationship with her blind son. We didn’t know we’d meet a young woman lying on the table at an abortion clinic. We didn’t know we’d encounter a middle-aged woman full of erotic imaginings as she readies herself for a blind date. Buried in this forgotten Yiddish-language material, we found modernist stories and modernist story-telling techniques – imagine reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez with the conversational touch of Grace Paley. “A collection of stories by an accomplished Yiddish writer now appears in English for the first time. These stories are a remarkable achievement. This volume combines the two books of stories Lempel (1907-1999) published during her lifetime; much of her work appeared in Yiddish newspapers and remains uncollected. Lempel described female desire, abortion, and incest, among other things, at a time when very few other writers were willing to take on such subjects… With shrewdness, wit, and lyricism, Lempel gives voice to the women, the aging, the ill, and others who, from the margins of modern society, have had trouble making themselves heard.” Kirkus Reviews
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Blume Lempel (1907–1999) was born in Khorostkiv (now Ukraine). She immigrated to Paris in 1929 and fled to New York on the eve of World War II. She wrote in Yiddish into the 1990s. Her prize-winning fiction is remarkable for its psychological acuity, its unflinching examination of erotic themes and gender relations, and its technical virtuosity. Mirroring the dislocation of mostly women protagonists, her stories move between present and past, Old World and New, dream and reality. This book is the first English language collection and translation of Lempel’s stories and is based on a manuscript that won the 2012 National Yiddish Book Center Translation Prize.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Ellen Cassedy, co-translator, is the author of We Are Here, which explored the world of the Lithuanian Holocaust and won numerous awards, including the Grub Street National Book Prize for Nonfiction. She is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, Hadassah, The Jewish Forward,. She lives in Takoma, Maryland, near Washington, D.C. Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, co-translator, is the author of four volumes of poetry, Prayers of a Heretic/Tfiles fun an apikoyres (2013), Uncle Feygele (2011), What Stillness Illuminated/Vos shtilkayt hot baloykhtn (2008), and The Insatiable Psalm(2005). Honored by the Museum of Jewish Heritage as one of New York’s best emerging Jewish artists, Taub has been nominated twice for a Best of the Net Award and four times for a Pushcart Prize. He lives in Washington, D.C.
ABOUT DRYAD PRESS
Dryad Press (www.dryadpress.com) began as a publisher of poetry in 1975, bringing out finely-designed books by new and established poets, among them Linda Pastan, John Logan, Reed Whittemore, and James Wright. The Press began expanding its list and for more than twenty years has been publishing fiction and non-fiction, including books of Jewish literary interest. Publication date: November 1, 2016 ISBN: 978-1-942134-21-3 Paperback $16.95 ISBN: 978-1-942134-25-1 Cloth $26.95 ISBN: 978-1-942134-22-0 E-Book $9.99
240 Pages 240 Pages 240 Pages
6 | MVP Catalog
13 Stradomska Street : A Memoir of Exile and Return By Andrew Potok
13 Stradomska Street composed in spare, lucid and penetrating prose records the haunting events that propelled the Potoks from the bourgeois comfort of their Warsaw home and business to a life in the United States. Andrew Potak’s late-in-life memoir, is indelibly inked with betrayal and rage but also imprinted with reflection and resilience. As Potok recollects the trauma of the Nazi invasion and the family’s flight, he is still haunted, enraged and mystified by the actions of the invading Nazis as well as the anti-Semitic Poles. But Andrew is equally disturbed by the behavior of his father who seemingly betrays his only son in effort to save himself. Andrew replays the scene of his father’s abandonment over and over in this insightful memoir, trying not to erase the past but to avoid repeating it in his own life Potok circles back again and again to the losses-- emotional and material-- inflicted by the Holocaust, but it is his father’s abandonment that resonates throughout Potok’s life. As the family approaches the border between Poland and Lithuania, Potak recollects that: Suddenly my pacing father was nowhere to be seen. My Uncle Max, turning purple with rage, shouted that my father crossed the border on the running board of a Mercedes a few cars ahead of ours. I closed my eyes. Voices, argued, yelled and whispered. Soldiers shouted. We were moving now and, in a blurred instant or an hour, Max announced that we were in Lithuania . . . . My father was standing on the side of the road. I pushed the van door open and ran into his arms. I will never forget his ashen face, the color of shame. (69) “Betrayal” becomes for Potak “a plague that has haunted me all my life (65)” and he confesses that “All my life, I have searched for reasons other than the ones I know to be true. Could he [Potak’s father] really have betrayed his family, his only son?”(69)? As thrice married Potok, in his domestic desertions, self-accusingly repeats the pattern of abandonment, he salvages part of his lost inheritance by his insistence on being an attentive, affectionate, nurturing and caring father. Like his genetic predisposition to blindness, Potok muses whether there is some sort of ‘abandonment gene’ responsible for his irresponsible behavior. The parallel with the actions of the Poles, who also abandoned and persecuted their neighbors and whose anti-Semitism has been the source of several studies, occupies a wide swath of Potak’s memoir. Potok’s memoir endeavors to illuminate the atrocities of the past, not forgive them. In this penetrating text, Potok ‘s journey is devoid of the customary tropes of Holocaust narratives: absent from this intellectual expedition are the horrors of the boxcars, the privations and starvation of the Lager, and the moral messaging of too many books and films that affix an upbeat spin on the emergence from catastrophe and atrocity. From the perspective of old age, Potak is 85 years old, the author brings a lifetime of reflection on post-traumatic memory, responsibility, prejudice and justice. These weighty matters distinguish Potok’s memoir from those of other Holocaust survivors whose stories may be riveting and moving, but not as thought-provoking. Potok’s memoir is clearly written by a man of intellect who is able to interrogate his history within the context of the Holocaust and provide readers with a rich tapestry of topics on which to gaze.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Potok was a successful visual artist until he started going blind in his early forties. He then turned his creative talents to writing and published his first book, a memoir, when nearly fifty, Ordinary Daylight, Portrait of An Artist Going Blind published by Holt Rinehart and Winston, and later in paperback by Bantam; His second book, My Life With Goya, a novel, was published by Arbor House; His third book is A Matter of Dignity, non-fiction, by Bantam/Random House; and his last book My Father’s Keeper, a novel, was published by Fomite Press. He lives in Vermont. Trade Paperback E-Book Edition
192 Pages 192 Pages
February 2017 ISBN: 978-1-942134-30-5 $16.95 February 2017 ISBN: 978-1-942134$12.95
7 | MVP Catalog
MAX BAER and the STAR of DAVID By Jay Neugeboren
“Neugeboren has never been better than in this lush, joyful novel—as erotic and mysterious as The Song of Songs, and as clear as a heavyweight champion's punch in the gut. I loved it.” —ROBERT LIPSYTE, author of An Accidental Sportswriter. When Jay Neugeboren’s first novel, Big Man, was published, James Michener called it “as good a sports novel as has ever been written.” Now, nearly a half-century later, Neugeboren is publishing MAX BAER AND THE STAR OF DAVID (Mandel Vilar Press Trade Paperback Original; February 9, 2016), his 22nd book—a remarkable novel that is centered on the life of the world heavyweight champion Max Baer. In 1933, Baer—who was one-quarter Jewish and wore a Star of David on his boxing trunks—won the greatest fight of his career, defeating Nazi Germany’s heavyweight champion, Max Schmeling, before a crowd of 60,000 fans at Yankee Stadium. A year later, he earned the heavyweight title, defeating Primo Carnera in front of 50,000 fans at Madison Square Garden Bowl. Baer was a flashy performer and showman who entertained America during the Great Depression. At the height of his fame, he starred in more than a dozen movies, played the vaudeville circuits, and was romantically involved with innumerable actresses, starlets, show girls, and socialites. As E. L. Doctorow did in Ragtime, in MAX BAER AND THE STAR OF DAVID Neugeboren has created fictional characters who interact with this real historical character. At the heart of this novel are two mysterious and memorable fictional creations, Max Baer’s intimate companions, Horace and Joleen Littlejohn, who present themselves to the world as husband and wife but are, in fact, brother and sister. They become best friends and sometime lovers to Max in this story about the world of boxing, and about Max’s life in and out of the ring. The narrator is Horace, and Neugeboren has given him a distinctive and compelling voice in what is, among other things, a strange and affecting interracial love story like no other, where love and violence lie down beside one another in astonishing and surprising ways. In the past eight years, Neugeboren has published seven books, three of them prize-winning novels. “Neugeboren has always been something of an innovator,” Madison Smart Bell wrote in The Boston Globe, “blending narratives so apparently disparate that their combination would seem impossible until he accomplished it. His feverish productivity in the 21st century has a whole new quality, though—a tidal wave of story ideas that flow so fast it seems almost impossible to write them all down.” MAX BAER AND THE STAR OF DAVID is Neugeboren’s most daring, original and memorable tale yet.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jay Neugeboren is the author of 22 books, including five prize-winning novels (The Stolen Jew, 1940, etc.), two prize-winning books of nonfiction (Imagining Robert, Transforming Madness), and four collections of award-winning stories. His stories and essays have appeared in many publications, including The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, The American Scholar, The New York Times, Ploughshares, Black Clock, and Hadassah, and have been reprinted in more than 50 anthologies, including Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. A professor and writer-inresidence for many years at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Mr. Neugeboren has taught at other universities, including Stanford, Indiana, S.U.N.Y. at Old Westbury, and Freiburg (Germany). He now lives and writes in New York City, where he is on the faculty of the Writing Program of the Graduate School of the Arts at Columbia University. Trade Paper Edition E-Book Edition
February 2016 February 2016
ISBN: 978-1-942134-17-6; ISBN: 978-1-942134-18-3;
8 | MVP Catalog
206 Pages 206 Pages
How Sweet It Is! By Thane Rosenbaum
"How Sweet It Is!, brilliantly and hilariously captures the Miami of 1972."—Huffington Post "Rosenbaum’s writing is a joy to read . . . The story digs deeper and parses out that nostalgia in an unflinchingly funny novel . . . The character of Miami Beach plays a star role in the descriptions of the mingling cultures of Jews, blacks and Cubans. One can almost feel the strangling humidity, smell the fresh ocean air, and taste the babke and onion rolls from the Butterflake Bakery, the sponsor of Adam’s Little League team. How Sweet It Is takes on geopolitics while putting a face on white flight and immigration."—Jewish Book Council Set in Miami Beach in 1972, HOW SWEET IT IS!, by critically acclaimed novelist, Thane Rosenbaum follows the Posner family—two Holocaust survivors, Sophie and Jacob and their son, Adam—doing everything they can to avoid one another in a city with an infinite supply of colorful diversions. In ’72 Miami hosted both the Republican and Democratic political conventions and experienced the rise of the counterculture, the Cold War, and the desegregation of the old South. In the style of E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime, HOW SWEET IT IS! is populated and enriched by the presence of many historical characters of the day including Jackie Gleason, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Meyer Lansky, and Fidel Castro. Miami Beach was to be the Posner’s salvation. Instead they discover that it is not a place of camouflage—all that sunshine highlighted the very things they wished to forget. In this hilarious novel, Sophie becomes a key figure in the Jewish Mafia as crime boss Meyer Lansky exploits her talents in a desperate attempt to restore the Jewish Mafia to its former glory and bring legalized gambling to Florida. Matching wits with the master Yiddish storyteller, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Jacob bemoans his fate at having to cope with Sophie, his irrepressible wife, and her new fame and relationships. And Adam acquires valuable lessons on standing one’s ground from the World’s Fastest Man, Bob Hayes, and learns to pitch out of a jam from an umpire who may or may not be Cuba’s dictator, Fidel Castro. The Posners find their lives quickly turning into a Disney World of funhouse mirrors and chaotic rides that give them front row seats through a transformational year in American culture, politics and world history.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Thane Rosenbaum is the author of the critically acclaimed novels, The Stranger Within Sarah Stein, The Golems of Gotham, Second Hand Smoke, and the novel-in-stories, Elijah Visible, which received the Edward Lewis Wallant Award for the best book of Jewish American fiction. His articles, reviews and essays appear frequently in many national publications including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and The Huffington Post, among other national publications. He is a Senior Fellow at New York University School of Law where he directs the Forum on Law, Culture & Society. For more information visit http://www.thanerosenbaum.com/. Trade Paperback Cloth Edition E-Book Edition
“Part detective story, part philosophic inquiry, part historic revisionism, Alan Lelchuk delivers a thinking man’s thriller….” — Jules Feiffer, Pulitzer Prize and Oscar-winning cartoonist The world remembers Raoul Wallenberg as the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews in Budapest in 1944-45, and was subsequently arrested by the Soviets in 1945, and taken to Moscow where he disappeared until his apparent death. Now, more than 65 years after these events, many mysteries about Wallenberg’s life and fate persist. SEARCHING FOR WALLENBERG by the critically acclaimed novelist, Alan Lelchuk explores the mysteries still surrounding Wallenberg. How and when did he die? Did he perhaps survive in some Gulag camp or psychiatric hospital? Why did he languish in a Soviet prison from 1945-1947 without being exchanged by the Swedish government—as other political prisoners in Europe were--or rescued by his very wealthy and well-connected family in Stockholm? Lelchuk meditates on these enduring mysteries and tries to imagine, with the scanty historical evidence, what might have really happened. During his writing of the novel Lelchuk engaged in wide research including travels to Stockholm, Budapest, and Moscow, where he interviewed historians, read documents and archives and visited physical sites. He also met with some of the few remaining witnesses, officials and participants including, most significantly, Wallenberg’s KGB interrogator (Daniel Pagliansky) in Lybianka Prison in 1945-47—the first and only Westerner to interview this key character. In SEARCHING FOR WALLENBERG, after reading a graduate student’s thesis about the fate of Raoul Wallenberg, Professor Manny Gellerman grows interested, and begins to travel the unorthodox paths of the mysterious tale. Gradually he discovers some uncomfortable truths of what happened to the gentleman who was abandoned by his family and by his country, to fester in Lybianka prison for two whole years. Along his journey, the Professor encounters a strange woman in Budapest who calls herself Zsuzsanna Wallenberg, and claims that Raoul Wallenberg was her father. More and more, as Gellerman digs deeper he realizes that the biggest mystery was Wallenberg himself. At once a literary detective story, a historical investigation, and a tale of an unusual friendship, SEARCHING FOR WALLENBERG provides a compelling experience for the reader, one filled with multiple layers of feeling, surprising characters, scenes of intense drama and moments of lyrical revelation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alan Lelchuk is a novelist and professor, who was born and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He received his B.A. in World Literature from Brooklyn College in 1960, studied at University College (London) in 1962-63, and received his M.A.in 1963 and Ph.D. in 1965, both in English from Stanford University. His critically acclaimed novels are American Mischief, Miriam at Thirty-Four, Shrinking: The Beginning of My Own Ending, Miriam in Her Forties, Brooklyn Boy, Playing the Game, and Ziff: A Life? He co-edited 8 Great Hebrew Short Novels and has written, for young adults, On Home Ground. He is a co-founder of Steerforth Press, has taught at Brandeis University and Amherst College, and since 1985 has been on the faculty of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. September 2016
How Jackie Robinson Changed Brooklyn By Alan Lelchuk
“A fresh and insightful retelling, Lelchuk’s Robinson is both biography and history that implicitly reinterprets cosmopolitan Brooklyn as the crucible of the Civil Rights movement during its formative decade, 1947-1957.”
—Martin Sherwin, author of the Pulitzer Prize winner, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer When Jackie Robinson started playing for the Dodgers, it was the first step of the Civil Rights revolution in baseball. While this historic event has been recorded in numerous books, BREAKING GROUND: How Jackie Robinson Changed Brooklyn by the critically acclaimed author, Alan Lelchuk (Mandel Vilar Press Trade Paperback Original; September 12, 2015) offers several revealing insights about Jackie Robinson’s career from an unusual perspective. First, it is an eyewitness memoir that captures in atmospheric detail the impact of Jackie’s very presence on Ebbets Field from the adoring eyes of a nine year old fan, who saw him play often. Second, it explains how Jackie’s special personality and play affected the borough of Brooklyn and changed it forever. Third, on a more personal level, BREAKING GROUND tells the story of how Jackie became an important figure inside the immigrant Lelchuk household, where a left-wing father, who had felt much hostility and estrangement from both America and his son, suddenly started to learn and understand the country of his son and of his own exile. BREAKING GROUND transports readers from the national baseball stage to the emergence of an iconic American city, from the throes and struggles of new immigrant family to a young boy’s deepest pleasures. In this unique memoir we experience the joys of the game of baseball, its native nuances and its quintessential American qualities. We understand how Jackie played the game with a rare excellence and excitement that actually challenged the way the game had been played, an excellence that has been rarely duplicated. We also experience the climate of racial prejudice and the Cold War that pervaded the post WWII era. We witness the responses from the kids of Brooklyn who took Jackie to their hearts and minds and made him their own personal folk hero. We see how the nation began to look at the borough of Brooklyn in a different light, one that highlighted a pioneering spirit and suggested a path forward in race relations. Finally we can sense in BREAKING GROUND the joys of childhood and youth that tied together a young Brooklyn fan and the greatest Dodger player. BREAKING GROUND dramatizes the bond between the chosen city and the chosen hero--with beautiful detailing, and a fine moral exactitude. It is a hymn to baseball and its legendary hero, a lyrical narrative that will beckon to all readers and listeners who were ever called by the sirens of youth, Jackie, baseball, and Brooklyn.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alan Lelchuk was born and raised in Brooklyn, attended public schools and Brooklyn College for his B.A. (1960) in World Literature and Stanford University for his graduate degrees in English (M.A. 1963, Ph.D.. 1965). He taught at Brandeis between 1966 and 1981. He has been a Visiting Writer at Amherst College, CCNY, University of Naples, The Free University in Berlin, and Moscow State University. In 2001-2002 he was the Salgo Professor of American literature and writing at ELTE in Budapest. A recipient of both Guggenheim and Fulbright Awards for fiction, his novels include American Mischief, Miriam at Thirty-Four, Shrinking: The Beginning of My Own Ending, Miriam in Her Forties, On Home Ground (for young adults), Brooklyn Boy, Playing the Game, Ziff: A Life?, and most recently, Searching for Wallenberg. He co-edited (in English) 8 Great Hebrew Short Novels, was Associate Editor of Modern Occasions (with Philip Rahv) and co-founder of Steerforth Press. He has been on the Dartmouth College faculty since 1985, lives in Canaan, New Hampshire, is married, and has two grown sons. Trade Paperback, September 2015 ISBN: 978-1-942134-07-7; E-Book ISBN:978-1-942134-08-4; 11 | MVP Catalog
136 Pages 136 Pages
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