A couple of weeks ago Wex appeared at the Winnipeg International Writers Festival.
(We will be running Mr. Bellan’s interview with Wex in its entirety in a future blog post.)
The review opens with an observation which makes us very happy – an answer to the question: “Is it good for the gentiles?”
“When a writer who has made his reputation based on his appreciation of Yiddish culture produces a novel written in English (with the occasional sprinkling of Yiddishisms), readers are bound to apply a test that might go something like this: ‘If I didn’t know anything about the writer, would this book appeal to an audience that has no appreciation of Yiddish culture?’ In the case of Frumkiss Family Business the answer is an unequivocal ‘yes’.”
Mr. Bellan titled the piece “Canadian author Michael Wex a new Mordecai Richler” but makes the distinction in his review that Wex’s writing is more “kind hearted” than Richler “who often seemed to be downright cruel in his view of Jewish life”.
“For instance, when it comes to enjoyment of food, Wex’s appreciation of traditional Eastern European Jewish delicacies shines through, as does his finely developed ear for the gentle, but acerbic put-downs that so many of us grew up hearing our grandparents use with one another.”
Mr. Bellan thankfully avoids giving away the book’s “secret”, closing with:
“…it seems fair to say that Wex’s polished novel…will leave you looking forward to many more from this emerging literary master.”