A Passover card I got in the mail prompted me to think about other fictional representations of Judaism in Northern Contexts.
Here’s the card:
Then, as I was reading The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon, I was reminded of Solomon Gursky Was Here by Mordecai Richler. Both trace the imagined adventures of Messianic Jewish characters in northern parts of North America. That may be the briefest possible overview of two books, so I’d recommend reading them both if you’ve the time and inclination.
Sure enough, I wasn’t the first person to put that comparison together, as Sarah Phillips Casteel‘s article “Jews among the Indians: The Fantasy of Indigenization in Mordecai Richler’s and Michael Chabon’s Northern Narratives” from 2009 indicates. She writes about “the Jewish immigrant fantasy of indigenization against the backdrop of northern frontier landscapes.” (The Walrus has something to say, too, as usual.)
Curiously enough (to me), Michael Chabon went to UC Irvine (where I now live, ish) and wrote about Sitka, Alaska (where I bought his book), Sarah Phillips Casteel currently professes at Carleton University (where I am enrolled), and Mordecai Richler lived in Montreal (where I bought his book).
Funny how things fit together sometimes. Circuitous linkages of scholarship, ho!
Also, what is up with that greeting card?