Genesis: Seeds of Being in the Early Years of a Jersey
Jewish American. By Marc Zimmerman. ISBN: 978-0-915745-34-0. LC: 2020938820 6" x 9"
Black & White on Cream paper 258 pages. $23.95
Latino Jewish Fiction, Hispanic literature, Sephardic literature, Latino Jewish--Social life and customs--Fiction, Latino Jewish Literature--Social life and customs--Fiction
Published by Floricanto Press
The portrait of a would-be artist as a young middle-class Jewish American living in the Newark/Elizabeth shadows of New York—his first memories, his summer and school days, his family, friends, and early loves, along with the impact of Holocaust, Cold War, and McCarthyism, the Rosenberg Case, and the founding of Israel. Mel’s loss of God and community, his awakening to jazz and writing, to African, Italian, and other “Americans” around him all emerge as the book evokes memory’s magic moments and the seeds they plant in our lives.
Genesis is Philip Roth territory, as Zimmerman launches his Illusions of Memory series, a sprawling mix of memoir, diary, Bildungsroman, travelogue, and short story collection that he has been piecing together over the past decade. U.S. post-war conservatism, the radical 60s and 70s, the restoration of the 80s and changes further on are all portrayed against the backdrop of three marriages and moves from east to west, from Mexican borderlands toward Nicaragua and beyond—to Europe, Minnesota, Chicago, and Puerto Rico. The quotidian and world-historical join in this book; and the overall series brings to mind
Rousseau’s Confessions—but with a jazzier, more dissonant vibe. I know of nothing like it in contemporary American fiction.
John Beverley, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Univ. of Pittsburgh. Author of Subalternity and Representation.
Beyond Genesis, Marc Zimmerman’s personal Old Testament Bible includes Two Ways West, No Light from Heaven, and his “Border Trilogy,” as well as Martín and Marvin, The Italian Daze and The Short of it all.