Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Review of Poet Alan Shapiro's Debut Novel in the Forward

My review of Alan Shapiro's first novel, Broadway Baby is in this Friday's edition of The Forward.

What's really interesting is how this is a sympathetic account of the life of a Jewish Mother, reclaiming the stereotype of the Jewish Mother from the likes of male authors like Philip Roth who depicted the Jewish Mother with dark humor but without empathy. The voice of Portnoy was that of an angry male adolescent, the male Jewish Son, this is a sympathetic portrait of a fifties-era Jewish Mother.

It's also intriguing to read Shapiro's biographical poetry on the same exact topics that he writes about in this novel (a son forced to take care of an aged, incontinent grandmother and resenting the loss of his childhood; a brother who is a musical actor and dies of cancer) and to see how different the novel form is from poetry.

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