Literary Modiin - January 2022 Author Event
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The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer
MARSEILLE, 1940. Varian Fry, a Harvard-educated journalist and editor, arrives in France. Recognizing the darkness descending over Europe, he and a group of like-minded New Yorkers formed the Emergency Rescue Committee, helping artists and writers escape from the Nazis and immigrate to the United States. Now, amid the chaos of World War II, and in defiance of restrictive U.S. immigration policies, Fry must procure false passports, secure visas, seek out escape routes through the Pyrenees and by sea, and make impossible decisions about who should be saved, all while under profound pressure—and in a state of irrevocable personal change. In this dazzling work of historical fiction—one that illuminates previously unexplored elements of Fry’s story, and has, since its publication, brought us new insight into his life—Julie Orringer, award-winning author of The Invisible Bridge, has crafted a gripping tale of forbidden love, high-stakes adventure, and unimaginable courage.
From Where I Stand by Caroline Goldberg Igra
Burdened by a troubled history with her mother, Elizabeth struggles to raise her own teenage daughter differently. She wants to celebrate when Belle receives a fabulous opportunity miles away in New York City, but is concerned that this move will prolong the estrangement between them. Even worse, it would entail Belle being raised by her grandmother-the person from whom Elizabeth has purposefully distanced herself. Belle is certain that everything will be better once she gets to the big city, and Grandmother Lillian intends to vicariously enjoy Belle's success. Left back home, Elizabeth focuses her energy on a young girl who has been removed from her home by social services and, unlike Belle, wants nothing more than to be mothered. While the individual journeys of these women lead them back to one another, the sudden disclosure of a long-buried secret threatens to keep them apart forever. Caroline Goldberg Igra's From Where I Stand explores the challenge of being a mother, the frustration of being a daughter, and the heart-wrenching complexity of being both.
From the Jewish Provinces by Fradl Shtok; translated by Allison Schachter and Jordan D. Finkin
From the Jewish Provinces showcases a brilliant and nearly forgotten voice in Yiddish letters. An insistently original writer whose abrupt departure from the literary scene is the stuff of legend, Fradl Shtok composed stories that describe the travails of young women looking for love and desire in a world that spurns them. These women struggle with disability, sexual violence, and unwanted marriage, striving to imagine themselves as artists or losing themselves in fantasy worlds. The men around them grapple with their own frustrations and failures to live up to stifling social expectations. Through deft portraits of her characters’ inner worlds Shtok grants us access to unnoticed corners of the Jewish imagination. Set alternately in the Austro‑Hungarian borderlands and in New York City, Shtok’s stories interpret the provincial worlds of the Galician shtetl and the Lower East Side with literary sophistication, experimenting with narrative techniques that make her stories expertly alive to women’s aesthetic experiences.