The Jewish Son: A Novel (Paperback)

The Jewish Son: A Novel By Daniel Guebel, Jessica Sequeira (Translated by) Cover Image
By Daniel Guebel, Jessica Sequeira (Translated by)
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A breathtaking short novel about the complicated feelings of hate and pity in familial love by an acknowledged Latin American master.

A brilliant and dark tour de force, Jewish Son presents the delicate archeology of the stubbornness of a boy who demands his parents’ attention. It is a brutal confession of the lies necessary to win a space of approval in a troubled family, a treatise on the excesses of love and the paradoxical lack of affection that is never enough, an accomplished narration of childhood from the point of view of the adult gaze, and a rewriting of Kafka’s Letter to His Father.

As his father’s imminent death becomes an ever more concrete reality with surgeries, caregivers, sedatives and his mother grows obsessed with visits to the rabbi and amasses saint cards and Buddhist prayers, the narrator evokes the remnants of the rejection that pervaded his childhood.

Without yielding to the idealization of youth or to the delight in pain before physical decay and death, Guebel dissects, beautifully although with discomfort, his very early conversion to the dream of literature as an act of reparation.

About the Author

One of Argentina’s and Latin America’s finest writers, DANIEL GUEBEL is the author of some 17 prior novels, four collections of short stories, and four plays. His novel The Absolute (Seven Stories, 2022) was named the best work of fiction of 2016 by La Nación and received the 2017 Literary Prize from the Argentine Academy of Literature. 
JESSICA SEQUERIA has translated works by Adolfo Couve, Teresa Wilms Montt, Sara Gallardo, Liliana Colanzi, Hilda Mundy, Jean de la Hire, and Maurice Level, among many others.

Praise For…

"Guebel's ... writing is always alert and impressive and is strikingly well translated by Jessica Sequeira"The Irish Times

"[A]n electrifying novella"—Jewish Currents

"In Argentine writer Guebel’s potent blend of autobiographical fiction and criticism (after The Absolute), he analyzes his relationship with his 89-year-old father and reflects on Franz Kafka’s Letter to His Father. Daniel regularly shuttles Luis, who has terminal prostate cancer, from Luis’s home to the hospital. During their time together, Daniel quizzes Luis to help spark his memory (“When I ask him his what his name is, he says: ‘Me’ ”) and entertains Luis with games of dominoes. In flashbacks, Daniel recounts a childhood rife with antisemitic schoolyard bullies, beatings from Luis, and attempts to win over Luis’s affection. As Daniel grows older, his father’s physical abuse turns verbal, and while working at the family’s refrigerator store, Daniel is tasked with an endless barrage of menial and demeaning duties. Throughout, Daniel meditates on Kafka’s account of his own complicated relationship with his father (“What the text constantly says is: that which I am, Father, you shall never understand”), and finds contrasts between himself and Kafka, as he matures into the role of caretaker. Along the way, he arrives at striking insights on the fragility of masculinity. A satisfying story emerges from Guebel’s searching study." (Apr.) Publishers Weekly

“Who does Daniel Guebel resemble as a writer? One might say that his subversive prose comes from Gogol and Nabokov, or even that he seems an improbable Argentine Pynchon. But Guebel is great due to his own qualities.” —Carlos Pardo, El País

“A book like this one, which asks about identity, the invention of an inheritance, and even the construction of the figure of the author, necessarily had to inquire into the very limits of the genre in which it is written.” —Mauro Libertella, Clarín

“This brief novel, written in just two months, has the simplicity—which never means simplemindedness—of a perfect book. The Jewish Son is an autobiographical novella that reads like a memoir, in which Guebel retraces his relationship to his father: from the boy’s childhood education of physical punishments, to the Copernican turn when the grown man has to take responsibility for a vulnerable parent.”  —Patricio Zunini, Infobae

“Guebel measures himself against Kafka as a long-suffering Jewish son, but also as an author. He acknowledges the Prague-born writer’s top place on the podium of European literature (as he assures us, he wouldn’t hesitate to save him in a fire before Joyce), and like Franz, he shields himself with writing as a refuge from paternal incomprehension and cruelty.” —Violeta Gorodischer, La Nación

Product Details
ISBN: 9781644212899
ISBN-10: 1644212897
Publisher: Seven Stories Press
Publication Date: June 27th, 2023
Pages: 112
Language: English