Saturday, May 23, 2009

Goodbye, Evil Eye: Stories

Goodbye, Evil Eye: Stories Goodbye, Evil Eye: Stories by Gloria Devidas Kirchheimer

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars

I picked this book up because of the title. I'd just returned from Egypt, where the Evil Eye is still a strong concept. Turns out that this book isn't really about evil eye stories so much as it is a book of...short vignettes? I am not sure how to classify it, really. The book is thin, and the stories seem to have nothing to do with each other except that they all feature Sephardic Jews in America. (The Sephardim are Jewish people "whose multilingual roots lie in Spain, Turkey, Greece, Egypt, [and:] the Middle East," according to the book's cover.)

Frankly, reading this book was difficult. I never finished. I got all the way to page 108 (out of 150), but in all that time, I never really liked any of the characters in the stories. The tone often felt slightly disrespectful rather than amusing, as though the author was trying to be funny but harbored resentment toward the older generation(s), and that translated into a condescension which trickled through in the narrative. And I never figured out whether the stories were supposed to have any basis in fact--although the book is catalogued as a 974.71, which is in the Dewey range for history.

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