At Odds in the World:
Essays on Jewish Canadian Women Writers
By: Ruth Panofsky
This volume brings together a series of essays that probe the articulation of Jewishness and femaleness through the lens of literature. Showing how female Jewish identity is constructed in Canadian prose works that span the years 1956 to 2004, collectively the essays speak to the writers’ preoccupation with cultural identity and unearth a literary portrait of how it feels to be Jewish, Canadian, and female in a world that often is hostile and unaccommodating. Seven writers are examined here: Miriam Waddington, Helen Weinzweig, Nora Gold, Adele Wiseman, Lilian Nattel, and Fredelle Bruser Maynard and her daughter Joyce Maynard. Each seeks to investigate the intersecting complexities of her identity as a Canadian, a Jew, and a woman, as well as critique prevailing notions of Canada as a country that embraces people of all faiths, of Judaism as open to female participation, and of Jewish women as submissive within marriage.
Ruth Panofsky engages her subjects with moral seriousness, passionate intensity, and considerable panache. At Odds in the World gets even with the dominant male structures and strictures in a Jewish-Canadian patriarchal society and culture. Each of the several cogent essays in this varied, perceptive, and subtle collection scores a series of firsts.
Michael Greenstein, author of Third Solitudes: Tradition and Discontinuity Jewish-Canadian Literature