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Hugh Nissenson

NISSENSON, HUGH (1933– ), U.S. novelist, short story writer, and essayist. Although born in Brooklyn, Nissenson often turned to a broader time and place for subjects. His novel The Tree of Life (1985) depicts a settler's life in early 19th century Ohio. His Notes from the Frontier (1968) reflect his impressions of Israel and the 1967 War. My Own Ground (1976) takes place in the Lower East Side of New York. The Song of the Earth (2001) is set in the future. The Days of Awe (2005) intertwines personal and family catastrophe, the events of 9/11, and the act of faith itself. A Pile of Stones (1965) and In the Reign of Peace (1972), collections of stories, are at home in settings as diverse as Israel, Poland, and America. Much of the strength of his writing resides in his depiction of modern, secular Jewish culture and the faith of the religious. His work captures the dissonance – and eloquence – amongst those Jews who are secular and those who are faithful, both groups searching for values and certainties that comport with their circumstances.

In 1988, Nissenson's The Elephant and My Jewish Problem: Selected Stories and Journals, 19571987 was published.


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Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.