L'Chaim and Lamentations


Title Details

Pages: 160

Trim size: 8.250in x 5.500in



Pub Date: 10/08/2019

ISBN: 9-781-5883-8369-3

List Price: $24.95


NewSouth Books

L'Chaim and Lamentations


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  • Description
  • Reviews

L’Chaim and Lamentations is a collection of seven richly layered stories that tackle not only the question of what it means to be Jewish but also what it means to be human, exploring universal themes of companionship and loneliness, faith and perseverance. The colorful characters who people its pages are varied: Aharon, who struggles to assert his sexuality against the burden of his father’s expectations; Esther and Sadie, an odd-couple pair of elderly roommates; Ida Nudelman, an aging secretary whose place in the world no longer feels certain; and Mendel Nachman, a cantor who finds redemption in a diner.

These stories detail the lives of the powerful and confident, but also the struggle of the modest and the determined, people doing the very best they can. Some are at home in the poor, immigrant neighborhoods of New York’s Lower East Side in the 1920s, others spend their lives tending to the dead in a Jewish cemetery in post-war Poland, while still others navigate the realities of life in contemporary America. Their stories span across place and time, but they are bound together by their shared historical, cultural, and religious backgrounds. The inherited trauma of the Jewish people informs Craig Darch’s characters as they toil, flail, and often flourish. Charming, poignant, and life-affirming, L’Chaim and Lamentations revels in local color while celebrating the universal joy and suffering that permeates these tales of the living and all the ghosts they carry.

Warm, satisfying, and evocative of lost times, Craig Darch's stories are the literary equivalent of my grandmother's kugel, with far fewer calories.

—Seth Greenland, author of The Hazards of Good Fortune

Loving and colorful stories that will stick with you long after you've put them down. A wistful reminder of a vanished era.

—Rabbi Jonathan Miller, Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Emanu-El Birmingham Alabama

Craig Darch has a terrific ear for the Jewish voice, with all of its kvetching and kvelling, anxiety and elation, irrepressible humor and hope. L’Chaim and Lamentations is a delightful, large-hearted collection.

—Sam Graham-Felsen, author of Green

I found a great deal of kindness and generosity in the fiction of Craig Darch. And it got me thinking, why is this so rare? I've never met the man but I've little doubt he's a mensch. I mean in the real spirit of the word. His preoccupations are the old, the lonely, the forgotten. He pays attention when others look away.

—Peter Orner, author of Love and Shame and Love

Craig Darch writes in the tradition of Cynthia Ozick and Grace Paley. His stories capture the joys and tsuris of generations of Jewish diaspora life.

—Ben Nadler, author of The Sea Beach Line

These wonderful stories of Jewish life, set in tenements and in delis, in shtetls and in synagogues, take you back to the days of the Jewish literary renaissance in America when works by Bellow, Malamud, Roth, I. B. Singer, and Grace Paley were at the center of literary culture.

—Don Noble, Alabama Public Radio

There’s loneliness and humor, kiddush and Kaddish, humanity and hope in these stories.

—The New York Jewish Week

Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes consoling, always luminously true.

—The Jewish News

Artfully weaves the old world and the new, reaching back to Eastern Europe and forwards to an unimaginable future.

—Jewish Book Council

About the Author/Editor

DR. CRAIG DARCH is the Humana-Sherman-Germany Distinguished Professor of Special Education at Auburn University. He earned his doctorate at the University of Oregon and has taught at Auburn for 32 years. While the Rosen book is his first biography, he has co-authored three college-level textbooks on learning and intellectual disabilities and has published more than 60 research articles for professional journals in the fields of special education and psychology. He has contributed chapters to three edited books and has written articles on special education for three encyclopedias. Darch is married to Gabriele, a nurse practitioner. They have a grown son, Eric, who is a school counselor.