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In a small town under a spell, a child bride prays for the sheriff’s gun. Iron under a bed stops a nightmare. The carousel artist can carve only birds. Part fairy tale and part gothic ballad, Wait spans a single year: the year before a young woman’s marriage. Someone is always watching—from the warehouse, from the woods. And on the outskirts of town, someone new is waiting.
A Memoir of Cancer
When poet and essayist Kenneth Sherman was diagnosed with cancer, he began keeping a notebook of observations that blossomed into this powerful memoir. With incisive and evocative language, Sherman presents a clear-eyed view of what the cancer patient feels and thinks. His narrative voice is personal but not confessional, practical but not cold, thoughtful and searching but not self-pitying or self-absorbed.
The author’s wait time for surgery on a malignant tumour was exceptionally long and riddled with bureaucratic bumbling; thus he asks our health-care providers and administrators if our system cannot be made efficient and more humane. While he is honest about what is good and bad in our system, he is not stridently political or given to directing blame. His narrative is interwoven with engaging ruminations on the meaning of illness in society, and is peppered with references to other writers’ thoughts on the subject. A widely published poet, Sherman helps the reader understand the deep connection between disease and creativity—the ways in which we write out of our suffering. Wait Time will be of special interest to anyone facing a serious illness as well as to health-care providers, social workers, and psychologists working in the field. Its thoughtful observations on health, life priorities, time, and mortality will make it of interest to all readers.
Creation, Freedom, and Grace in Western Theology
The problem of creation and grace has a long history of contention within Protestant and Catholic theology, involving not only internecine conflict within the traditions but fueling, as well, ecumenical debates that have continued a dogmatic divide. This volume traces out that conflict in modern Catholic and Protestant dogmatics and provides a historical genealogy that situates the origin of the problem within different emphases in the thought of St. Augustine. The author puts forward an argument and reconstruction of the problem that overcomes the longstanding abstractions, elisions, and divisions that have characterized the theological discussion. What is called for is a reclamation of the reading of Augustine in Aquinas and Luther, a recovery of an ethical metaphysics, and a Christological reconstruction of being and otherness as the path toward a concrete union of creation and grace
A Story of Emigration
In 1987 a young Jewish man, the central figure in this captivating book, leaves Moscow for good with his parents. They celebrate their freedom in opulent Vienna and spend two months in Rome and the coastal resort of Ladispoli. While waiting in Europe for a U.S. refugee visa, the book’s twenty-year-old poet quenches his thirst for sexual and cultural discovery. Through his colorful Austrian and Italian misadventures, he experiences the shock, thrill, and anonymity of encountering Western democracies, running into European roadblocks while shedding Soviet social taboos. As he anticipates entering a new life in America, he movingly describes the baggage that exiles bring with them, from the inescapable family traps and ties to the sweet cargo of memory. An emigration story, Waiting for America explores the rapid expansion of identity at the cusp of a new, American life. Told in a revelatory first-person narrative, Waiting for America is also a vibrant love story in which the romantic main character is torn between Russian and Western women. Filled with poignant humor and reinforced by hope and idealism, the author’s confessional voice carries the reader in the same way one is carried through literary memoirs like Tolstoy’s Childhood, Boyhood, Youth, Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, or Nabokov’s Speak, Memory. Babel, Sebald, and Singer—all transcultural masters of identity writing—are the coordinates that help to locate Waiting for America on the greater map of literature.
Chicago Blues at the Crossroads
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, British blues fan Alan Harper became a transatlantic pilgrim to Chicago. "I've come here to listen to the blues," he told an American customs agent at the airport, and listen he did, to the music in its many styles, and to the men and women who lived it in the city's changing blues scene. Harper's eloquent memoir conjures the smoky redoubts of men like harmonica virtuoso Big Walter Horton and pianist Sunnyland Slim. Venturing from stageside to kitchen tables to the shotgun seat of a 1973 Eldorado, Harper listens to performers and others recollect memories of triumphs earned and chances forever lost, of deep wells of pain and soaring flights of inspiration. Harper also chronicles a time of change, as an up-tempo, whites-friendly blues eclipsed what had come before, and old Southern-born black players held court one last time before an all-conquering generation of young guitar aces took center stage.
In "Michael Kohler," Kromer's unfinished novel, the harsh existence of coal miners in Pennsylvania is told in a committed, political voice that reveals Kromer's developing affinity with leftist writers including Lincoln Steffens and Theodore Dreiser. An exploration of Kromer's proletarian roots, "Michael Kohler" was to be a political novel, a story of labor unions and the injustices of big management. Kromer's other work ranges from his college days, when he wrote a sarcastic expose of the bums in his hometown titled "Pity the Poor Panhandler: $2 an Hour Is All He Gets," to the sensitive pieces of his later life--short stories, articles, and book reviews written more out of an aching understanding of suffering than from the slick formulas of politics.
Waiting for Nothing remains, however, Kromer's most powerful achievement, a work Steffens called "realism to the nth degree." Collected here as the major part of Kromer's oeuvre, Waiting for Nothing traces the author's personal struggle to preserve human virtues and emotions in the face of a brutal and dehumanizing society.
Reflections at the Turning of the Year
In Israel, the High Holiday cycle marks the transition from summer to the rainy season. In Waiting for Rain, the acclaimed teacher Bryna Levy offers a compelling collection of meditations that examine the biblical and liturgical readings associated with the High Holidays, from Rosh Hashanah to Simhat Torah. Based on a series of lectures given in Jerusalem at Matan – the Women's Institute for Torah Studies, and known as "The Hoshana Rabbah Lectures," Levy's readings of the traditional texts echo the natural and spiritual tenor of this season. Waiting for Rain joins the field of biblical interpretation known as parshanut ha-mikrah. It offers fresh insights into traditional rabbinic interpretation, together with the author's perspective as a modern Orthodox woman bible scholar. Levy explores the psyches of the biblical characters and addresses issues such as our connectedness to others, the tragedy of wasted opportunity, confronting evil, the denial of death, faith and doubt, personal and communal responsibility, universalism versus particularism, the challenge of leadership, sin and atonement, and the efficacy of prayer. The result is a highly personal approach to the meaning of the High Holidays that resonates with our own modern lives. Stories about heroes and heroines, love, faith, hope, and dreams make this book a moving and engaging source for study and reflection as well as an excellent companion to the traditional High Holiday prayer services.