Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Books & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Mc-Pa)

Ozick, Cynthia

readers puttermesser stories york

(US, 1928– )

Ozick is an unabashedly literary writer, but her work is nevertheless firmly rooted in everyday details, especially those related to Jewish culture and to her native New York City. Although she draws on a wide array of sources—Jewish theology, the biography of the British writer George Eliot, the writings of the Polish surrealist Bruno Schulz—her fiction focuses on flawed, yet lovably familiar individuals in a world that is not entirely comprehensible to them. The Puttermesser Papers (1997), for example, is a collection of five interrelated stories taken from the life of Ruth Puttermesser, a timid civil servant who becomes mayor of New York (with some supernatural assistance) but who also finds pizza to be a puzzlingly ‘ethnic’ food. Ozick's considerable erudition demands a great deal of her readers, but shorter, more immediately accessible works such as The Shawl (1989) or The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories (1971) may provide a better introduction to her style and ultimately afford readers access to her more complex works.

Grace Paley, Philip Roth, Isaac Bashevis Singer  DM

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