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Dear Fellow Book Lovers,

 
 


Our involvement in two special events became outstanding highlights for 2019:  
MJBW presentation of National Jewish Book award-winning writers Ariel Burger and Bram Presser in conversation, and Melbourne Writers Festival Fifth Estate Panel Event Antisemitism featuring Deborah Lipstadt with Sally Warhaft and Dvir Abramovich. Our thanks to everyone who attended these sold-out sessions.
 
We have chosen a great film to support at the Jewish International Film Festival (JIFF) in November. Following the screening, MJBW has a treat planned. Look out for our next Mailchimp for details.
 
In the meantime, we invite you to choose from our selection below for your reading pleasure during the holidays.
 
On behalf of everyone at Melbourne Jewish Book Week, we wish you and your families a sweet New Year of health, peace and happiness.
FICTION
A Grave Crime of Carelessness
 
The Man Who Saw Everything 
by Deborah Levy
Longlisted for 2019 Booker Prize


Saul Adler is a beautiful man. He is also a man disassembled. History, art, totalitarian societies, the Beatles and eyeliner collide in this outrageously great novel. Once again Deborah Levy exposes us to the world with all its strangeness and in that encounter, it is forever changed. Highly recommended by Tali Lavi.
Celebrating the Expansiveness of Art, Kindness and Friendship

The Returns
by Philip Salom


Philip Salom’s latest publication has been critically acclaimed in The Sydney Review of Books, Australian Book Review and Weekend Australian. Salom deftly engages the reader in a prolonged love story about two very different people who should be together. One is the owner of a small independent bookshop; the other, a freelance editor; both with an inheritance of emotional responsibility that demands their limitless attention.
Survivor NZ
 
Swim
by Avi Duckor-Jones

 
No literary award consistently introduces exciting new talent quite like the Viva La Novella prize, and this year’s winner is no exception. New Zealander Avi Duckor-Jones arrives fully formed in this brilliant story of family fracture, obsession and the limits of human endurance (both physical and emotional). Written with primal energy and deep compassion, Swim is an absolute must-read.

Highly recommended by Bram Presser, author of the award-winning The Book of Dirt.
 
The Mirage of Middle Class Success
 
Maybe the Horse Will Talk
by Elliot Perlman

 
What happens when ‘sexual harassment’ cases occur in a prestigious legal firm? To keep the job he hates, pay the mortgage and salvage his marriage, a second-year lawyer will have to do something strikingly daring. Perlman returns with sardonic wit in his latest fiction, an unflinching examination in contemporary times of ingrained corporate culture and corruption.
Was He a Hero or a Traitor?
 
The Collaborator
by Diane Armstrong


After a long absence, Diane Armstrong has written the real-life story of Rezso Kasztner (given the fictional name Miklos Nagy)- a man with the chutzpah and courage to negotiate with Eichmann and save almost 1700 Hungarian Jews but who in 1950s Israel, was accused of collaboration. Across decades and continents, the author keeps the reader guessing.  
What Does It Mean to Change Your Identity?
 
The Convert
by Stefan Hertmans

 
A spectre from Medieval Europe is made flesh in this masterful portrait by award-winning writer Stefan Hertmans (War and Turpentine). Set amidst a backdrop of turbulence and violence, a woman’s fate teeters precariously. A mesmerising tale of faith, seeking refuge and, of filling in the cracks of history: its impossibilities and the generosity required in doing so.

NON-FICTION
An Unexpected Journey into the Past
 
The Writing on the Wall
by Juliet Rieden

 
When Juliet Rieden, Australian Womens Weekly Editor at Large, visited the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague, the city where her father was born, she saw the names of many members of the Rieden family on the wall memorialising Czechs murdered by the Nazis. Their lives and fates had always been a mystery to her. Rieden’s intriguing memoir details her painstaking search to unravel the family history and to discover why her father had remained silent all this time.
“There’s a lot of it going around” – A GP’s Odyssey
by Leon Piterman

 
During his four decades as a Melbourne GP, Leon Piterman has seen it all or more accurately seen them all. Although he has not liked all his patients, he has cared for them in the deepest meaning of the word. Reading their stories and Leon Piterman’s reflections makes you wish that he had been your doctor.  What stands out in this book, is his compassion and thoughtfulness – a man who can admit his mistakes, ask for help and continue learning.
The Intrinsic Human Experience of Loss and Leaving
 
Split
Edited by Lee Kofman

 
In this compelling anthology of personal essays, curated by award-winning author Lee Kofman, some of Australia’s most beloved writers reveal for the first time, powerful, occasionally funny and often heartbreaking stories of significant endings and their aftermath.
 
Listen to the audio by the ABC’s Radio National program Life Matters, featuring the author and one of the contributors of the book, Alice Pung here.

Literary Snippets

 
2019 Prime Minister’s shortlisted books were recently announced. Here is one for Leonard Cohen fans... [read more]
 
For those readers who were unlucky to miss out on seeing Simon Schama and Ariel Burger in their events in Melbourne earlier this year, listen to two podcasts by the ABC’s Radio National program Soul Search presented by Meredith Lake:
Simon Schama [podcast 1]
Ariel Burger [podcast 2]

Call for volunteers

 
If you enjoy reading and need to know what’s happening in the world, this is your chance to meet authors, journalists, publishers and educators who will participate in MJBW 2020. As a volunteer some of the tasks required are, driving our guests to and from venues and the airport, giving you time to ask those questions you’ve always thought about; ushering at the door of each session which you will be able attend if seating is still available. There are many other volunteer duties each offering the opportunity to be up close and personal with our special guests, some of whom will be coming from overseas, interstate and of course many locals.

We need you and we know you will have a great time.
 
Should you be interested in assisting us please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Ellen Frajman for more details: volunteers@melbournejewishbookweek.com.au

 

Happy reading everyone





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