Alan Kaufman Jew Boy: A Memoir

ISBN 13: 9780880642521

Jew Boy: A Memoir

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9780880642521: Jew Boy: A Memoir

Alan Kaufman grew up in the Bronx, the son of a Jewish mother who had survived the Holocaust, her mind badly scarred by her trauma. Growing up under the shadow of his mother's demons, he struggles uncomprehendingly with his Jewish identity, vowing never to become a victim like his mother. In a great bid for freedom from her legacy, he hitchhikes across the U.S. only to summon the phantoms he had sought to escape. His flight, after taking him to a kibbutz in Israel and the Israeli army, returns him to the streets of New York, homeless and an alcoholic, until at last he finds redemption in poetry, the gift that is true to his being.

Kaufman’s authentically American voice, with its headlong energy, joy, and sensitivity, calls to mind the best of Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller. “Jew Boy” touches on themes rarely explored in American writing — the pain, guilt, and confusion of American-born children of Holocaust survivors. But above all it burns with the universal humanity of a brilliant writer embracing the gift of life. “Jew Boy”’s fierce passion will leave no reader untouched.

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About the Author:

Alan Kaufman, author of The New Generation: Fiction for Our Time from America's Writing Programs and Who Are We?, is the editor of the anthology The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. His writings have appeared in the San Francisco Examiner, Tikkun, Tel Aviv Review, Witness, and other publications, as well as in many Web 'zines, including Tattoo Jew, of which he is the editor. A former editor of Jewish Frontier, he is the founder and editor of the controversial magazine Davka: Jewish Cultural Revolution and has performed as a spoken-word poet in the United States and abroad.

From Publishers Weekly:

"I experienced my first wet dream on a Sunday night after reading a Dick Tracy comic strip on the front page of the Sunday edition of the New York Daily News," writes poet Kaufman (Who Are We?)in this visceral memoir of how his Jewish identity has influenced his sexuality, writing and imagination. Indeed, for much of his journey to adulthood, self-acceptance and becoming an artist, the concepts of sex, writing and the imagination have been inseparable for Kaufman. Growing up in the Bronx with a deeply depressed mother who was a Holocaust survivor, Kaufman came to grips with his Jewish heritage in disquieting ways: he found himself sexually turned on by photos of German death camps, formed a clique in high school that jokingly called for "death to the Jews" and created "The Purple Jew," a comic book that featured a Jewish superhero even as Kaufman understood that "more than anything in the world, I wanted not to be Jewish." He is able to combine humor and pathos with a cold-blooded sense of irony in his chilling descriptions of uncovering his identityAwhether it is through going to a brothel to have sex for the first time ("I still felt like a virgin, only contaminated by paid-for sex") or remembering, as he terrorizes Palestinian children during a stint in the Israeli army, how his mother was captured by German soldiers ("I know it's not the same"). Frightening and deeply moving, Kaufman's memoir is a remarkable document. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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