The Netanyahus: Book summary and reviews of The Netanyahus by Joshua Cohen

The Netanyahus

An Account of a Minor and Ultimately Even Negligible Episode in the History of a Very Famous Family

by Joshua Cohen

The Netanyahus by Joshua Cohen X
The Netanyahus by Joshua Cohen
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  • Published Jun 2021
    248 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

"Absorbing, delightful, hilarious, breathtaking and the best and most relevant novel I've read in what feels like forever." - Taffy Brodesser-Akner, The New York Times Book Review

Corbin College, not quite upstate New York, winter 1959–1960: Ruben Blum, a Jewish historian—but not an historian of the Jews—is co-opted onto a hiring committee to review the application of an exiled Israeli scholar specializing in the Spanish Inquisition. When Benzion Netanyahu shows up for an interview, family unexpectedly in tow, Blum plays the reluctant host to guests who proceed to lay waste to his American complacencies. Mixing fiction with nonfiction, the campus novel with the lecture, The Netanyahus is a wildly inventive, genre-bending comedy of blending, identity, and politics that finds Joshua Cohen at the height of his powers.

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Book Awards

  • award image Pulitzer Prize Winners, 2022

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Cohen's writing is vibrant even when ruminating on esoteric details on Jewish identity theories... . This blistering portrait is great fun." - Publishers Weekly

"Cohen has performed a literary miracle of sorts, transforming the shadowy, dour figure of Benzion Netanyahu into the protagonist of an uproariously funny book. In its skewering of the small-mindedness of academic culture, The Netanyahus conjures up the hilarity of David Lodge, and in its piercing gaze and over-the-top, transgressive moves, it evokes the late Philip Roth... . The reader is likely to explode in laughter." - Los Angeles Review of Books

"Absorbing, delightful, hilarious, breathtaking and the best and most relevant novel I've read in what feels like forever." - The New York Times Book Review

"Riffing freely on a true story, this brilliant and hilarious new book takes a cozily familiar form, the campus novel, and turns it into a slyly oblique fable about history, identity and the conflicted heart of Jewishness, especially in America." - Fresh Air

"With [The Netanyahus] Cohen proves himself not just America's most perceptive and imaginative Jewish novelist, but one of its best novelists full stop." - The Wall Street Journal

"The Netanyahus, like Cohen's previous novels, is driven by the momentum of its prose... . This is a surprising novel, full of quirks and explosive moments." - The Spectator

This information about The Netanyahus was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Joshua Cohen

Joshua Cohen was born in 1980 in Atlantic City. His books include the novels Moving Kings, Book of Numbers, Witz, A Heaven of Others, and Cadenza for the Schneidermann Violin Concerto; the short-fiction collection Four New Messages, and the nonfiction collection Attention: Dispatches from a Land of Distraction. Cohen was awarded Israel's 2013 Matanel Prize for Jewish Writers, and in 2017 was named one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists. He lives in New York City.

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