Most Essential Works of Jewish Fiction of the Last 100 Years

A curated list of titles from an article authored by Jason Diamond. Check out the items in the library’s collection!

The Metamorphosis
Kafka, Franz
Poor Gregor Samsa wakes up to find himself transformed into a giant insect.

Portnoy’s Complaint
Philip Roth

A lust-ridden bachelor confesses his sexual desires to a psychoanalyst.

Death of a Salesman
Miller, Arthur
Miller’s play tells the tale of Willy Loman and the death of the American Dream.

The Catcher in the Rye
Salinger, J. D.
After Holden Caulfield’s expulsion, this novel details two days of his emotional journey.

The Trial
Kafka, Franz
Josef K. is arrested but can’t seem to find out what he is accussed of.

American Pastoral
Roth, Philip
A man’s family crumbles after his daughter is accused of bombing the local post office

Herzog
Bellow, Saul
Moses E. Herzog having a midlife crisis, deals with running from commitment.

Call it Sleep
Roth, Henry
The story of a Galician Jewish immigrant family during the 20th century.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Chabon, Michael
Two Jewish cousins becoming major figures in the comics industry.

The Assistant
Malamund, Bernard
Set in Brooklyn, a relationship between Morris and Frank develops.

Catch-22
Heller, Joseph
Chronicles of an American Bombardier’s attempts to survive World War II.

Where the Wild Things Are
Sendak, Maurice
Max finds an island where he meets all manners of strange creatures.

Maus: A Survivor’s Tale
Spiegelman, Art
Art Spiegelman’s biography of his father’s life before, during, and after the Holocaust.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
Blume, Judy
A young girl’s coming of age story, chronicling her trials and experiences

Absurdistan
Shteyngart, Gary
Misha Vainburg, the 325-pound son of the 1,238th richest man in Russia tries to return to his love.

Novels & Stories (1959-1962)
Roth, Philip
A collection of stories from author Philip Roth curated by The Library of America.

The New York Trilogy
Auster, Paul
A series of interconnected detective stories, the protagonist deals with an identity crisis.

The History of Love
Krauss, Nicole
The story of a very old man and a very young woman, and how their lives are joined by one very special book.

Motherless Brooklyn
Lethem, Jonathan
The death of a mentor upends Lionel’s life, leading him to track down the killer.

The Instructions
Levin, Adam
A book about a Jewish boy from the Chicago suburbs who might or might not be the Messiah.

Everything is Illuminated
Foer, Jonathan Safran
Jonathan goes on a quest to Ukraine to find the woman who saved his grandfather’s life.

The Trial of God
Wiesel, Eli
Set in a Ukrainian village, a haunting play takes place detailing loss of faith.

Bech, a Book
Updike, John
Bech roams from one adventure to the next, detailing his life with wonder and cynicism.

The Finkler Question
Jacobson, Howard
Three friends explore what it means to be Jewish, coming to new conclusions of identity.

Seize the Day
Bellow, Saul
One unfortunate date in the unhappy life of Tommy Wilhelm.

For the Relief of Unbearable Urges
Englander, Nathan
The story of a Hasidic Jew who approaches his rabbi for advice on his marriage.

Want more recommendations? Check out more Book Lists!

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