book cover of The English Disease

The English Disease

(2003)
A novel by

 
 
THE ENGLISH DISEASE is a remarkable feat, a story that mixes the Marx brothers and Maimonides, pornographic yoga with Polish paranoia, and the brutality of kindergarten with the beauty of the Kiddush. It's the tale of Charles Belski, an expert in the works of Gustav Mahler, who, like Mahler himself, is talented and neurotic, and a nonpracticing Jew.

Belski suffers guilt over his own contribution to the decline of the Jewish religion, especially since he married a gentile and now has a gentile daughter. As if he can't conjure up enough angst on his own, his great-grandfather appears before him in a dream to admonish him for neglecting the obligations of his faith.

For Belski, the dilemma is how an assimilated intellectual can connect with an ancient and irrational (to him) religion without losing his sense of self. Is he the self-hating Jew that his obstreperous colleague pegs him for? Can his wife and daughter bully him into opening up his heart and letting in a little joy? Belski tries to come to grips with the meaninglessness of modern life, the demands of tradition, the nature of love and fidelity, and the true significance of the lyrics to Goodnight Irene.

Joseph Skibell has written a novel that is sad, funny, daring, and ultimately redemptive.

Genre: General Fiction

Used availability for Joseph Skibell's The English Disease

Hardback Editions

May 2003 : USA Hardback
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Title: The English Disease
Author(s): Joseph Skibell
ISBN: 1-56512-257-7 / 978-1-56512-257-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Kindle Editions

September 2012 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: The English Disease
Author(s): Joseph Skibell
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA