The Big Read Blog (Archive)


April 17, 2009
Washington, DC

Happy Birthday Cynthia Ozick! As a New Yorker, I can't resist celebrating the happy occasion by sharing this quote by Anita Brookner, from a 1999 review in The Spectator. Though The Shawl takes place in Warsaw and Miami, I think the quote speaks to Ozick's deft evocations of the surroundings in which her characters plod, pant, carry on so that the cities themselves become characters.

"She is as authentic a voice of New York as was Edith Wharton before her, but Ozick's New York is an affair of battered suburbs, of cavernous municipal buildings, of ancient Hebrew teachers living above Cuban grocery stores, of public libraries, wily lovers and miraculous if inconvenient apparitions."