peteg's blog - noise - books - 2022 11 07 JoshuaCohen TheNetanyahus

Joshua Cohen: The Netanyahus: An Account of a Minor and Ultimately Even Negligible Episode in the History of a Very Famous Family. (2021)

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Judy was cruel. She had that smart cruelty to her of someone who'd gotten what she wanted. And she'd gotten it the fairest way, through suffering.
after a long digression on notions of fairness for the purposes of college entrance essays

Kindle. Prompted by Netanyahu's restoration to the throne of Israel and Cohen's amusing take on Jared Kushner's memoir. Told in the first person by a Pnin-ish academic in upstate New York. The Netanyahus come to visit for the purpose of a job interview at the local college. The setups are a bit clunky — it's often obvious where he's taking us — as the visitors are predictably horrible, the academic overweening, the backbiting. I probably missed many of the finely calibrated distinctions amongst the Jewish diaspora (ancestry, linguistic proficiency, cultural symbols) but there is still a lot to enjoy in the small, and he is damn funny. Overall, though, is there anything much to it?

This got Cohen the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Reviews are legion and generally tedious.