A Wide Variety of Jewish Fiction Not Set in 1940′s Europe
It’s more than okay because I totally feel this. And it can be hard to find ourselves in contemporary lit because if the story isn’t about Jewishness or a character isn’t terribly observant, the book’s blurb and keywords often give us no hints. Meanwhile, gentile authors love to plop us down in the middle of our most famous mass tragedy, when there’s so much more to us.
So I am really glad that I can help. All of the following links go directly to my reviews, which are pretty detailed and should give you an idea if the book sounds like something you’d like.
Starting with YA, I recommend Playing with Matches (Modern Orthodox setting, about a girl trying to repair her relationship with her older sister and accidentally starting a matchmaking service) and My Year Zero (all girl love triangle.) Additionally, one of the two main characters in Gone, Gone Gone (all boy love triangle, but also about the trauma of living through the 2002 sniper crisis in Maryland) is Jewish.
Leading characters, although not the MC, of YA superstars Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and The Rest of Us Just Live Here, are Jewish. All of those have a contemporary setting; for historical f/f YA there is the short story The Fire-Eater’s Daughter, which is set in the 1950′s in a circus and has a Jewish lead. (With that time setting: her mom is a survivor but that’s not what the story is about.)
For graphic novels, I highly recommend the Rabbi Harvey books (philosophical/funny, setting some of our legends in the American Old West),The Rabbi’s Cat (philosophical/dark; this one kinda has some of that dissection you were trying to avoid), and the Mirka books (children’s fantasy about a lot of female characters in an Orthodox setting.) And I loved the two Jewish stories in the Dates LGBTQ+ comics anthology, both of which had trans characters.
Libi Astaire’s written a number of Regency mysteries set in London’s Jewish community, both short stories and full length. My favorite was The Doppelganger’s Dance, about a violinist being gaslit by a mysterious anonymous rival, and here’s a review of one of the shorts, “What’s in a Flame?” Speaking of historicals, Heather Rose Jones’s 1800′s lesbian fantasy series introduced well-rounded Jewish characters in its second book, The Mystic Marriage, which is about lesbian scientists creating magic rocks (the Jewish characters are the alchemist’s young apprentice and her father.)
For short, free Jewish sci-fi online I recommend Three Partitions (nonbinary, Orthodox) and Seven Commentaries on an Imperfect Land. Grand Jeté also fits these categories but is much darker (so not as much my personal preference.)
Finally, I hope you will consider checking out my own series, which is fluffy queer fantasy set in a made-up Jewish kingdom based on South Florida where I grew up. There are three novels and two short stories published so far with @torquerepress, with a fourth book and five more shorts coming this July. A good place to start is the two Tales from Outer Lands (the shorts), because they make a good intro and focus the most on the Jewishness. This free five-panel comic I wrote with @theloserfish makes another good preview; it’s about the queen’s girlfriend trying to bake gluten-free challah with the help of the palace wizard.
@returnofthejudai is this the post you’re looking for? It has loads of book recommendations and also worth reading the comments/reblogs because other people have recommended more things!
This is useful. Thanks for tagging us.