PsychoSemitic by Ellen Golub
In PsychoSemitic, Ellen Golub hosts the after-party for shtetl life with an outrageous sense of humor, crackling wit, and a collection of characters not seen since Sholem Aleichem. With a finely tuned ear for Jewish speakers, this novel is a breakthrough work of Yiddish fan fiction and a deeply revealing portrait of American Jewry told from the inside out. When the sacred and the secular come into conflict, you can begin to feel PsychoSemitic.
That is the leitmotif in Ellen Golub's debut novel, where she transports the sharp-tongued Sheyne Sheyndel and her luftmensch husband, Menachem Mendel, from Sholem Aleichem's 1890s shtetl stories, and drops them off in contemporary America. Their marital conflicts and money woes evaporate, but nevertheless they find themselves and their children afloat. They have one foot in the secular world-think Starbucks, Prozac, pornography-and the other in the "world to come" -think shabbes, kashrut, and davening. Menachem Mendel is a yeshiva educated, MIT physicist, his wife the doyenne of a prominent rabbinic family. But when he obsesses about the coming of the Messiah and begins feeling PsychoSemitic, who should the pragmatic Sheyne Sheyndel call, a rabbi or a psychiatrist?
Paperback Book 2015