A Blessing on the Moon

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Berkley Publishing Group, Apr 1, 1999 - Fiction - 267 pages
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The English Disease is a remarkable feat, a story that mixes the Marx brothers and Maimonides, pornographic yoga with Polish paranoia, and the brutality of kindergarten with the beauty of the Kiddush. It's the tale of Charles Belski, an expert in the works of Gustav Mahler, who, like Mahler himself, is talented and neurotic, and a nonpracticing Jew. Belski suffers guilt over his own contribution to the decline of the Jewish religion, especially since he married a gentile and now has a gentile daughter. As if he can't conjure up enough angst on his own, his great-grandfather appears before him in a dream to admonish him for neglecting the obligations of his faith. For Belski, the dilemma is how an assimilated intellectual can connect with an ancient and irrational (to him) religion without losing his sense of self. Is he the self-hating Jew that his obstreperous colleage pegs him for? Can his wife and daughter bully him into opening up his heart and letting in a little joy? Belski tries to cometo grips with the meaninglessness of modern life, the demands of tradition, the nature of love and fidelity, and the true significance of the lyrics to "Goodnight Irene."

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A Blessing on the Moon

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Chaim Skibelski is dead. Or is he? In the opening pages, he is shot and pushed into a pit along with his fellow Jews in a village in Poland. Chaim, accompanied by his rabbi in the form of a crow ... Read full review


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About the author (1999)

Joseph Skibell holds an M.F.A. from the University of Texas Center for Writers. He was the 1996-97 Halls Fellow in fiction, and a recipient of a James A. Michener Fellowship.

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