Wasteland, by Jo Sinclair
This $10,000 prize-winning novel is an epistle to the Jews who are poor in spirit. Our St. Paul, who becomes Saul again, is Jake Braunowitz, alias John Brown. Because he has a pain in his back, is ashamed of his family, and ashamed of being a Jew, and because his sister, Debby, insisted he should go, he consults psychiatrist about his troubles. For eighteen years John has been hiding his Jewishness from his Gentile women, his Gentile colleagues at the newspaper where he is employed as a staff photographer, from himself and society at large. Nevertheless, he is unable to break away from his family and gefilte fish. Lacking identity, he can identify himself with nothing; at thirty-five he is still unintegrated and obsessed with a sense of waste, hence “wasteland.” One reads his story as it comes out in weekly, and later in bi-weekly, interviews with the psychiatrist.
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