Nathan, a blind Jewish scribe, tells the story of the coming of the Messiah in the person of one Simon Stern from his birth on the Lower East Side, through his career as a millionaire dealer in real estate, to his building of a refuge for the Jewish remnant of World War II. A majestic work of fiction that should stand world literature's test of time, to be read and reread. A masterpiece. Commonweal This book ensnares one of the most extraordinarily daring ideas to inhabit an American vel in a number of years. For one thing, it is that risky devising, dreamed of only by the Thomas Manns of the world, a serious and vastly conceived fiction bled out of the theological imagination. For ather, it is clearly an 'American' vel altogether American, despite its Jewish particularity: it is t so much about the history of the Jews as it is about the idea of the New World as haven. . . . In its teeming particularity every vein of this book runs with a brilliance of Jewish insight and erudition to be found in other velist. Arthur Cohen is the first writer of any American generation to compose a profoundly Jewish fiction on a profoundly Western theme. Cynthia Ozick, New York Times Book Review This stately, ambitious amalgam of Jewish myth, history, theology, and speculations on the Jewish soul is like an ermous Judaic archeological ruin often hard for the uninitiated to interpret, but impressive. . . . Intelligent, inventive, fascinating. New Yorker
Arthur A. Cohen (1928-1986), novelist, essayist, and theologian, received the Edward Lewis Wallant Award in 1973 for In the Days of Simon Stern and the National Jewish Book Award in 1984. His A People Apart was nominated for a National Book Award in 1972. Cohen's novels Acts of Theft and A Hero in His Time are also available in Phoenix Fiction paperback editions from the University of Chicago Press.