Since Cheryl Pearl Sucher married a New Zealander in 1999, she has been living between two worlds: the Greater New York City area and the Hawkes Bay of New Zealand, two places that are about as far apart on the planet as one can travel. Though she has often felt torn between her very different lives, she has also felt that her life experience and artistic vision has been enhanced by living as both an insider and an outsider in such different but extraordinary places. This interview series is born out her experience between these worlds, and as a published fiction writer, bookseller, journalist, memoirist and avocational musical traveler.
In this edition, Cheryl talks to Eileen Pollack, whose new novel, The Bible of Dirty Jokes,brings to life the hilarious and moving history of Borscht Belt comedy, Catskills resorts, and the notorious Jewish mob, Murder Inc. In a novel that reads like a cross between The Sopranos and a Sarah Silverman special, Pollack bestows on American literature a protagonist for the ages, the wisecracking, starry-eyed, endlessly generous and forgiving Ketzel Weinrach. On a reeling, roundabout hunt for her beloved brother, Potsie, who has gone missing in Las Vegas, she finds herself in ever weirder and more unnerving locations. She uncovers dark family secrets, buried bodies, and repressed memories and comes to see her failed comedy career and her deception-riddled marriage to the late Morty Tittelman, self-styled professor of dirty jokes and erotic folklore, in new and wonderful ways.
Eileen Pollack grew up in Liberty, NY. She earned a BS in physics from Yale and an MFA in fiction from the University of Iowa. She is the award-winning author of nine books of fiction and nonfiction, including Breaking and Entering (Four Way Books 2012) and In The Mouth (Four Way Books 2008), and the recipient of various fellowships. Her stories and essays have appeared in the Best American series and elsewhere. She lives in Manhattan and Ann Arbor, where she teaches on the faculty of the Helen Zell MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan.
Cheryl Pearl Sucher is an award-winning journalist, essayist, reviewer and fiction writer who lives between Cranbury, New Jersey and the Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. Ka Hua E Wha: The Southernmost Jewish Community in the World, her contribution to Jewish Lives in New Zealand was published in 2012 by Random House NZ and she has been a frequent contributing book reviewer and feature writer for The NZ Sunday Star-Times and The NZ Listener. Her first novel, The Rescue of Memory, was published by Scribner so long ago she has forgotten the exact date and an excerpt from her second novel in progress, Lost Cities, was published in 2013 in Printer's Row, the Chicago Tribune's literary supplement. From July 2013 to April 2016 she was one of four presenter/interviewers for New Zealand Hawkes Bay Television's half hour interview program CHATROOM.