1st Edition

Postmodern Love in the Contemporary Jewish Imagination Negotiating Spaces and Identities

By Efraim Sicher Copyright 2022
    244 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    244 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Offering a radical critique of contemporary Israeli and diaspora fiction by major writers of the generation after Amos Oz and Philip Roth, this book asks searching questions about identity formation in Jewish spaces in the twenty-first century and posits global, transnational identities instead of the bipolar Israel/diaspora model.

    The chapters put into conversation major authors such as Jonathan Safran Foer, Nicole Krauss, Michael Chabon, and Nathan Englander with their Israeli counterparts Zeruya Shalev, Eshkol Nevo, and Etgar Keret and shows that they share common themes and concerns. Read through a postmodern lens, their preoccupation with failed marriage and failed ideals brings to the fore the crises of home, nation, historical destiny, and collective memory in contemporary secular Jewish culture.

    At times provocative, at others iconoclastic, this innovative study must be read by anyone concerned with Jewish culture and identity today, whether scholars, students, or the general reader.

    1. All You Need is Love?
    2. From Auschwitz to Yavneh
    3. Body and Nation
    4. Transgression and Return
    5. Destroying Israel
    6. The Afterlife of Love


    Efraim Sicher is a professor of English and comparative literature at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel. In 2020 he was a research fellow at the Israeli Institute of Advanced Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has published widely in modern Jewish studies and has edited the short stories of Isaak Babel in Russian, English, and Hebrew. Among his most recent books are Babel in Context (2012); Under Postcolonial Eyes: Figuring the "Jew" in Contemporary British Writing (with Linda Weinhouse, 2012); Race Color Identity: Discourses of the "Jew" in the Twenty-First Century (as editor, 2013); The Jew’s Daughter: A Cultural History of a Conversion Narrative (2017); and Reenvisioning Jewish Identities: Reflections on Contemporary Culture in Israel and the Diaspora (2021).

    "Through finely tuned close readings, Sicher probes deeply into Jewish identity in a postmodern world. Both learned and caring, it should be welcomed by all as a serious exploration of some of the major challenges facing Jews today."   Alvin H. Rosenfeld, Indiana University, USA

    "… sensitive and provocative readings of contemporary Jewish fiction. In examining spatial and temporal sites of identity-formation from a global and transnational perspective, this important study presents an original approach to the construction of Jewishness in the literary imagination."  Victoria Aarons, Trinity University, USA

    "He [Sicher] does close readings of the texts he discusses and examines recurring themes and motifs, like Jewish-Arab love, the lover’s body as nation-state, and post-Zionism . . . Sicher illuminates literary histories, identifies intellectual and creative antecedents, and proposes comparisons with contemporaries for each of his case studies . . . in Postmodern Love, we read summaries and analyses of a dizzying array of Jewish novels."  Karen E. H. Skinazi in Modern Philology, volume 121, number 2 (2023)