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The Centre for Contemporary Jewish Literature at Holy Blossom Temple presents:

Contemporary Jewish Fiction

Tuesdays: October 15 – November 12, 2019, at 10:00 am
$10 per session for non-members

Join us as we study two juicy novels on some similar themes, set in very different countries and times and treated in very different ways.
Sophie & Cecilia, by Katherine Ashenburg and The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer




Register online or contact Debbie Spiegel for more information: [email protected]

Sophie & Cecilia, by Katherine Ashenburg

The award-winning Canadian non fiction writer has written her first novel at the age of 72, and it is worth the wait. Loosely based on the lives of the celebrated Swedish painters Carl Larsson and Anders Zorn (Nils Olsson and Lars Vogt in the novel), Ashenburg explores the subject of the art and the artist in an intriguing way. She looks closely at the marriages, at the women and their art and ultimately their deep friendship as it develops over decades. We also read absorbing details about painting, design and textiles; European history 1901-1935, country life in Sweden, and the rise of feminism. Cecilia is Jewish, and we learn of her growing discomfort with Swedish nationalism. But most of all this is a novel exploring the status of women over these decades, particularly these two women, and their feelings about art, marriage, children, independence. This is a brilliantly observed, keenly intelligent and very moving novel.

The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer

From the Guardian review: “Where are we right now? With feminism and all that? There was the vote. We got the vote, which was lovely. Then there was work, and the pill, and sexual liberation, which was all great, and today there’s #MeToo, and Beyoncé, and something else – something like a sinking feeling: a realisation that these might have been a series of battles won, rather than the war promised.

Meg Wolitzer’s 11th novel sympathetically satirises this complicated landscape of contemporary feminism, while also pressing knowingly against the bruises.”

In The Female Persuasion, Wolitzer, the beloved author of The Interestings and The Wife introduces us to Greer Kadetsky, a shy college freshman. When she meets Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant at sixty-three, a central pillar of the women’s movement for decades, Greer feels a kind of hero-worship. Astonishingly, Faith invites Greer to join her, working on her magazine. Encouraged to develop her brain and her instincts, Faith leads Greer down the most exciting and complex path of her life towards a future she could not have imagined. As she progresses, her relationship with her mentor undergoes subtle, and more obvious changes.

Charming and wise, knowing and witty, Meg Wolitzer delivers a novel about power and influence, ego and loyalty, womanhood and ambition – and about mentorship and independence.

For those of you who have time – you may want to read the Canadian novel The Red Word by Sarah Henstra as a companion to this book.


October 22, 2019
10:00 am - 11:00 am
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