Adam Kirsch on the “Manly, Street-Smart Authenticity” in “the Quietly Compelling New Novel by Ben Nadler”

Author: Ben Nadler

October 21, 2015

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In a roundup of recent fiction in which one finds a “convergence of Jews and guns,” critic Adam Kirsch notes:

In The Sea Beach Line, the quietly compelling new novel by Ben Nadler, Jewish violence means something different: not desperation but manly, street-smart authenticity. This is the kind of authenticity embodied by Alojzy Edel, who was born in the Soviet Union and later served in the Israeli army—the two great schools of modern Jewish toughness. But Alojzy is a missing man, just as his virtues are missing from the world of his son, Isaac, who is the novel’s narrator. Isaac, born and raised in New York and Long Island, is a dismal emblem of American Jewry: spiritually confused, materially spoiled, he has just been expelled from college for dealing drugs. When a postcard arrives saying that Alojzy, his estranged, long-absent father, has died, Izzy—as he is known—sets out for New York to see if the news is true.

Read more on the Tablet magazine website.