Not Quite Mainstream: Canadian Jewish Short Stories
Norman Ravvin, Editor
Red Deer Press
Ravvin further states that Jewish writing “seems to be a place of true experiment and freedom from the conventional demands of the novel and poetry.” This is explicit in Joe Rosenblatt’s illustrated “Tommy Fry and the Ant Colony,” an odd mixture of child’s fable and free verse, written for adults.
In contrast is the spare, lyrical “A Minor Incident” by poet Robyn Sarah. Stories by Irving Layton, Mordecai Richler and Matt Cohen flesh out the book, but its real strength lies in its diversity of subject and style: a story translated from the Yiddish tells of a woman’s search for her family, lost in the flight from Siberia during the war; a modern Jew, writer-in-residence at a Maritimes college, learns a fast lesson about life’s precariousness; a liberal mother has to deal with her teenage son’s homosexuality; and a long-ago Russian tragedy affects a family in Toronto.
Despite some of the stories’ brutal topics (how does a mother lose all but one of her children and still survive?), the overall effect is as varied as life itself. mRb