Book Tour with Joshua Cohen
Josuha Cohen will read from Witz:
A Novel published in the U.S. in 2010 and now in German translation with Schöffling.
Please see all tour dates for Joshua Cohen in Hamburg (March 15), Stuttgart (March 16), Leipzig (March 18 & 19), Dresden (March 20), Berlin (March 21), Munich (March 23) and Frankfurt (March 24) here.
On Christmas Eve 1999, all the Jews in the world die in a strange, millennial plague, with the exception of the firstborn males, who are soon adopted by a cabal of powerful people in the American government. By the following Passover, however, only one is still alive: Benjamin Israelien; a kindly, innocent, ignorant man-child. As he finds himself transformed into an international superstar, Jewishness becomes all the rage: matzo-ball soup is in every bowl, sidelocks are hip; and the only truly Jewish Jew left is increasingly stigmatized for not being religious. Since his very existence exposes the illegitimacy of the newly converted, Israelien becomes the object of a worldwide hunt . . . Meanwhile, in the not-too-distant future of our own, “real” world, another last Jew—the last living Holocaust survivor—sits alone in a snowbound Manhattan, providing a final melancholy witness to his experiences in the form of the punch lines to half-remembered jokes.
“The sort of postmodern epic that arrives like a comet about once every decade, like Infinite Jest or Gravity’s Rainbow. Like any epic, it defies summary and overflows with puns, allusions, digressions, authorial sleights of hand and structural gags-in the tradition of Thomas Pynchon, James Joyce, Jonathan Swift and Laurence Sterne.” New York Observer
“Witz is a brave and artful attempt to explore and explode the limits of the sentence.” New York Times
Joshua Cohen was born in 1980 in Atlantic City. His books include the novels Moving Kings, Book of Numbers, Witz, A Heaven of Others, and Cadenza for the Schneidermann Violin Concerto; the short fiction collection Four New Messages, and the non-fiction collection Attention: Dispatches from a Land of Distraction. Called ‘a major American writer’ by the New York Times, ‘maybe America’s greatest living writer’ by the Washington Post, and ‘an extraordinary prose stylist, surely one of the most prodigious at work in American fiction today’ by the New Yorker, Cohen was awarded Israel’s 2013 Matanel Prize for Jewish Writers, and in 2017 was named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists. His most recent novel The Netanyahus is longlisted for the 2022 Joyce Carol Oates Prize.