“Alan Cheuse’s Magnificent Novel” Is a “Major Literary Achievement”

Author: Alan Cheuse

June 1, 2015

“What hath Cheuse wrought? A one-woman show with one character playing many parts? A prose epic of the American Dream corrupted by some kind of insidious moral disease? A portrait of the archetypal Jewish grandmother? Prayers for the Living reminds me of Frank Norris’s McTeague, Abraham Cahan’s The Rise of David Levinsky (especially the portrait of the hero’s mother and the irony of the title), Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Allan Ginsberg’s ‘Kaddish’ (don’t ask me why), and Henry Roth’s Call It Sleep.

It also reminds me of Molly Goldberg, Gertrude Berg’s iconic character who embodied the Jewish-American quest for and realization of upward mobility. Not only the ‘yoo-hoo,’ but also the worship of family.”

Read Phil Jason’s full review in The Jewish News of Sarasota-Manatee. The review also appears in Federation Star (Jewish Federation of Collier County) and L’Chayim (Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties), and on Phil Jason’s website.