Spirits, lies and prison

Secrets, lies and prison Nathan Englander’s newest novel delves into the Israeli psyche and some of the country’s darkest tales.

By ELAINE MARGOLIN
September 7, 2017 18:55
nathan englander 521

nathan englander 521. (photo credit: Juliana Sohn)

 
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Nathan Englander, the cocky and clever wunderkind we remember from a few years ago who wrote What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, and For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, has grown up. Something seems radically different about his outlook.

His earlier works focused on American Jews and their ongoing angst about their identity, the Holocaust, latent antisemitism, and the enticement of assimilation. His new work, Dinner at the Center of the Earth, takes us to an entirely new realm. Englander has long expressed an affinity for the Israeli Leftist movement, but his new work shows a growing empathy for the voices that emanate from the Right; voices that understand the unending fragility of Jewish survival everywhere.

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