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Adele Wiseman Biography

(1928–1992), The Sacrifice, Crackpot, Testimonial Dinner, Old Woman at Play

jewish winnipeg traditional life

Canadian novelist, born in Winnipeg of Jewish parents who had migrated from the Ukraine, educated at the University of Manitoba. Among other occupations she worked as a university teacher. She lived in Winnipeg, London, Rome, New York, Montreal, and Toronto. Her best-known novel, The Sacrifice (1956), tells the tragic story of a modern-day Abraham who suffers the hardships of immigrant life and eventually commits murder. It is a penetrating study of the tensions that arise when increasingly assimilated second-generation immigrants question traditional Jewish social and religious codes. Crackpot (1974) is a more experimental novel set in a Jewish ghetto in Winnipeg. Although it too depicts the difficulties experienced by the community, it is written in a more humorous style, employing ethnic stereotypes for satirical purposes. It draws on traditional Jewish thought from the cabbala. Wiseman's other writing is also primarily concerned with aspects of Jewish community life; it includes the play Testimonial Dinner (1978) and Old Woman at Play (1978), a fragmented memoir of her mother.

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