Slated to appear in the December 2020 issue of the Midwest Review.
The Great American Jew Novel
ASIN : B08H6MC9M8 $20.00 Paper/$9.99 Kindle
The Great American Jew Novel will appeal to readers of Jewish fiction and humor and tells of a precocious nine-year-old who becomes her “Do it All Dad” father’s self-appointed talent agent to solve all his troubles, from a failing marriage to comedy career aspirations.
Bashert can’t fix everything, but what she gets her little hands on surely changes many situations in a hilarious romp through stay-at-home dad Joshua’s evolving life.
Michael Kornbluth produces a survey that is, in itself, a comedic satire of the Jewish personality and lifestyle. Joshua’s uncertain navigation of his world, his ongoing ambitions beyond family, and the many challenges he faces in the course of realizing his dreams fuel a lively observational study in Jewish psychology: “…on a baser level, Joshua became addicted to scoring laughs from rehearsed one liners or inspired riffs in the moment, synthesizing the scattered observations and punchlines of years past, because it made him feel like a less all over the place Jew. Feeling in control was important to Joshua. He’d been the only schmuck with a stutter who graduated from the top communication school at Ithaca College in 99.”
From encounters with a funny female rabbi to political correctness on trial, Kornbluth provides a series of evocative encounters. Readers should be prepared for intensely detailed descriptions that would border on run-on sentences, except for the fact that their underlying attraction lies in their very length and depth: “She was funny, and very personable, coming off like a flatter-chested, higher-IQ Judy Gold. He honestly couldn’t tell if she was a bush muncher or not. Still, he loved how she made the Saturday Synagogue services very upbeat, welcoming and business-casual without stripping the house of worship of the deep-rooted holiness preening through the flawless stained glass windows, without the original Super Jew, Jesus Christ, anywhere in sight. But what bothered Joshua about the Rabbi, was a conversation over some Challah noshes after the service, when he tried to gain a stronger grasp on why Jews got so tense when the mere name of Jesus was brought up in conversation, especially when Joshua would get into his Pescatarian schtick about how if a diet of fish and veggies was good enough for Jesus, the original Super Jew, it was good enough for him.”
Much of the lingo and cultural references make this story much more accessible to the Jewish reader already well familiar with this background than those who are not, or who have not been exposed to Jewish language and psychology in their daily lives.
These notes aside, The Great American Jew Novel excels in a hilarious New York exploration of the world of comedy and Jewish culture. It’s sometimes politically incorrect, racy, and ribald. This absorbing viewpoint of a father’s drive for bigger and better goals and added meaning in his world is highly recommended for Jewish readers who enjoy the cultural lure of satirical social examination.