Harvey Brownstone conducts an in-depth interview with Dara Horn, Author of “People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present”
About Harvey's guest:
Dara Horn is the award-winning author of six books, including the novels “In the Image” (Norton 2002), “The World to Come” (Norton 2006), “All Other Nights” (Norton 2009), “A Guide for the Perplexed” (Norton 2013), and “Eternal Life” (Norton 2018), and the essay collection “People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present” (Norton 2021).
“People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present” is a startling exploration of how Jewish history is exploited to flatter the living.
Reflecting on subjects as far-flung as the international veneration of Anne Frank, the blockbuster traveling exhibition called “Auschwitz,” the Jewish history of the Chinese city of Harbin, and the little known “righteous Gentile” Varian Fry, Dara Horn challenges us to confront the reasons why there might be so much fascination with Jewish deaths, as emblematic of the worst of evils the world has to offer, and so little respect for Jewish lives, as they continue to unfold in the present.
Horn draws on her own family’s life — trying to explain Shakespeare’s Shylock to a curious 10-year-old, her anger when swastikas are drawn on desks at her children’s school in New Jersey, the profound and essential perspective offered by traditional religious practice, prayer, and study — to assert the vitality, complexity, and depth of this life against an anti-Semitism that, far from being disarmed by the mantra of “Never forget,” is on the rise.
One of Granta magazine’s Best Young American Novelists (2007), she is the recipient of two National Jewish Book Awards, the Edward Lewis Wallant Award, the Harold U. Ribalow Award, and the Reform Judaism Fiction Prize, and she was a finalist for the Wingate Prize, the Simpson Family Literary Prize, and the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Her books have been selected as New York Times Notable Books, Booklist’s 25 Best Books of the Decade, and San Francisco Chronicle’s Best Books of the Year, and have been translated into eleven languages.
Her nonfiction work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Smithsonian Magazine, and The Jewish Review of Books, among many other publications, and she is a regular columnist for Tablet Magazine. Horn received her doctorate in comparative literature from Harvard University, studying Yiddish and Hebrew. She has taught courses in these subjects at Sarah Lawrence College and Yeshiva University and held the Gerald Weinstock Visiting Professorship in Jewish Studies at Harvard. She has lectured for audiences in hundreds of venues throughout North America, Israel, and Australia. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and four children.
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