Date(s) - 24/02/2020
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Come and join our Book Club on Monday evenings. As a group, we will explore and discuss a variety of modern and contemporary fiction together in a relaxed and informal setting. Refreshments will be served.
£2.00 pp/session including refreshments
New members welcome. For more information please contact: Denise Bonham on firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday 24 February 2020 – Reuben Sachs, Amy Levy
This 1888 novel is about a couple who love each other, but his political ambitions demand money and she is poor. “Reuben Sachs” would be a fairly standard late-Victorian novel about the cruelty of the marriage market if it were not imbued with feminist polemic. Amy Levy (1861-89) was sharply critical of the empty lives led by women with nothing to do all day except gossip, play cards and go shopping. The setting is the Anglo-Jewish community in Bayswater, portrayed with a sardonic gaze that shocked contemporary readers. Yet the author’s theme was broader, for she was in part reacting against Daniel Deronda: she believed that George Eliot had romanticised her Jewish characters and that no novelist had yet described the modern Jew with ‘his surprising virtues and no less surprising vices.’Oscar Wilde observed: ‘Its directness, its uncompromising truths, its depth of feeling, and above all, its absence of any single superfluous word, make “Reuben Sachs”, in some sort, a classic’.
Julia Neuberger writes in her Preface, ‘This is a novel about women, and Jewish women, about families, and Jewish families, about snobbishness, and Jewish snobbishness’; while in the “Independent on Sunday”, Lisa Allardice said: ‘Sadder but no less sparkling than Miss Pettigrew, “Reuben Sachs” is another forgotten classic by an accomplished female novelist. Amy Levy might be described as a Jewish Jane Austen.’