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The Netanyahus cover art

The Netanyahus

By: Joshua Cohen
Narrated by: Joshua Cohen, David Duchovny, Ethan Herschenfeld
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Summary

2022 Pulitzer Prize winner for Fiction and named one of the notable books of 2021 by The New York Times

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. The New York Times described it as “absorbing, delightful, hilarious, breathtaking and the best and most relevant novel I’ve read in what feels like forever.”

Read by the author with David Duchovny and Ethan Herschenfeld lending their vocal talents to the audiobook.

©2021 Joshua Cohen (P)2021 Pushkin Industries

Critic reviews

"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)

“No one writing in English today is more gifted than Joshua Cohen. Every page of The Netanyahus—an historical account of a man left out of history, a wickedly funny fable of the return of the repressed—crackles with Cohen’s high style and joyride intelligence.” (Nicole Krauss)

The Netanyahus is constructed with a brilliant comic grace that moves from the sly to the exuberant. Some scenes are funny beyond belief. But even when moments in the book are sharp or melancholy, they keep an undertone of witty and ironic observation. The vision in this book is deeply original, making clear what a superb writer Joshua Cohen is.” (Colm Tóibín)

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Touched with genius

This is a mixed work. There were a number of passages that were brilliantly well written.
The story is based on the real life incident of Professor Harold Bloom looking after the strange, driven and some might say deluded academic historian Benzion Netanyahu who was the father of the future Prime Minister of Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu.
The little known incident of Bloom looking after Netanyahu and his irascible wife and dysfunctional three sons made for some excellent comic writing.
This was a brilliant attempt to emulate the great comical Jewish writing of Saul Bellow and Philip Roth amongst others.
Cohen is a writer touched with genius. This is not his classic novel but I feel that it will come.
Well worth a listen to.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Did not disappoint.

I definitely plan to read more Joshua Cohen. Great production and a great introduction to Audible. Loved it.

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Mixed bag

Slow, self-indulgent first half, followed by hilarious, riotous second (albeit punctuated by some turgid didactical passages). Highly recommended despite reservations.

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Not a fan

Couldn’t really see why/how this book won the Pulitzer. Not very interesting and pretty tedious in places. Narration had cheesy background sounds that turned it more into a drama than an audiobook. Clearly not for me.

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awful

tedious and not helped by weird additional production and by the absence of actor reading

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