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reading tiger

Wednesday Reading

So here we are again and I still haven't talked about Lavie Tidhar's A Man Lies Dreaming. OK, fine.

At first, when I heard about this book, I thought I didn't want to read it: "Oh no, another Holocaust book," I said to myself. Then I poked around a little further and discovered that it involved Shomer, an author of Yiddish trash literature, dreaming his way out of Auschwitz. His dream may or may not be the other parallel story in the book: Hitler as a down-on-his-luck P.I. in 1940s London after the Communists have taken over Germany, hired by a rich Jewish woman to find her missing sister.

At this point I knew I had to read it immediately. And I am so glad I did. I haven't purely enjoyed a book like this in ages. I ate it up. I want to read it again and again, and I never re-read. It's delicious.

So. Like trash fiction in general, this book takes well-worn subject matter and thematic material and, unlike trash fiction, turns it inside-out. So we are presented with new and interesting answers to questions like "how can one write about the Holocaust?" and "what is the value of trash fiction?" Which, answered singly, aren't all that interesting any more. Answered together, and you get this sublime book.

I feel a small need to warn readers that the book ends with Hitler, with a forged Jewish passport, on a boat to Palestine. If you can't handle this, don't read this book.

So, after I read A Man Lies Dreaming I found my copy of Rip It Up and spent some quality time with that again. I also read the graphic novel memoir Tomboy by Liz Prince. I wasn't especially impressed -- it wasn't bad, but the memoir was too straightforward for my taste and I didn't learn anything new. Simone, however, wants to read it right away, so I gave it to her once I was through. (Simone is presently identifying as a "tomgirl," that is, a boy who likes girl things. Her gender inspiration, a young person named Jackie, just came out as a girl rather than a boy who likes dresses, and it will be interesting to see how that affects Simone's sense of gender, because she was clearly and comfortably inhabiting "I'm a boy who likes dresses too!" space for most of this year.)

It's going to be difficult to figure out what to read next.

Comments

Tidhar must be obsessed with Hitler! Okay, okay, I kid. But the only thing I've read of his was this short story called "304 Adolph Hitler Strasse"; I used it for a term paper about porn and thought it was a great story. I should probably check out this book - thanks for your reviews. I have a long list of Pantryslut recs in my Amazon basket (I won't necessarily order them from there, though!).