The Marrying of Chani Kaufman A Novel by Eve Harris 2013 / 350 Pages
Chani Kaufman is only 19 years old, but she already has major responsibilities. She was raised in a very conservative Jewish family in London, and between her religious duties and her job as an art teacher’s assistant, poor Chani barely has time to prepare for her wedding. Chani and Baruch went on just four dates before he proposed, which is apparently typical of Jewish dating customs, and now Chani oscillates between feeling lucky and blessed and completely terrified. Mrs. Kaufman already has 7 other children to care for, so she barely has time to answer her young daughter’s questions about life and marriage. Chani attempts to gain answers from The Rebbetzin (The Rabbi’s wife), but she has just suffered a terrible miscarriage at the age of 44 and is therefore grief-stricken and preoccupied. Their religious customs prohibit Chani from speaking too openly about intimate things like sex, marriage, childbirth, and birth control, so she must do what the women before her have done – become a wife and figure it all out little by little.
Rating: 4.5 The Yips A Novel by Nicola Barker 2012 / 550 Pages
The Setup: The hilarious Man Booker-longlisted novel from the author of DARKMANS, Nicola Barker.
2006 is a foreign country; they do things differently there. Tiger Woods’ reputation is entirely untarnished and the English Defence League does not exist yet. Storm-clouds of a different kind are gathering above the bar of Luton’s less than exclusive Thistle Hotel. Among those caught up in the unfolding drama are a man who’s had cancer seven times, a woman priest with an unruly fringe, the troubled family of a notorious local fascist, an interfering barmaid with three E’s at A-level but a PhD in bullshit, a free-thinking Muslim sex therapist and his considerably more pious wife. But at the heart of every intrigue and the bottom of every mystery is the repugnantly charismatic Stuart Ransom – a golfer in free-fall.
Nicola Barker’s Man Booker-longlisted novel THE YIPS is at once a historical novel of the pre-Twitter moment, the filthiest state-of-the-nation novel since Martin Amis’ MONEY and the most flamboyant piece of comic fiction ever to be set in Luton. (From the hardcover edition)