The Netanyahus: An Account of a Minor and Ultimately Even Negligible Episode in the History of a Very Famous Family by Joshua Cohen
Trade paperback format.
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.
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
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.
—John Powers, 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.
—Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
With its tight time frame, loopy narrator, portrait of Jewish-American life against a semi-rural backdrop, and moments of cruel academic satire, The Netanyahus reads like an attempt, as delightful as it sounds, to cross-breed Roth’s The Ghost Writer and Nabokov’s Pale Fire.
—Leo Robson, The Guardian
With a blend of fiction and nonfiction, Joshua Cohen’s dazzlingly smart campus comedy pursues lofty questions of history, religion and politics.
[The Netanyahus] is torrentially satisfying.
—Jonny Diamond, Lit Hub