Stories of Exile Book Discussion Series

The Jones Library is excited to participate in the Yiddish Book Center’s “Stories of Exile” Reading Groups for Public Libraries, a reading and discussion program to engage teens and adults in thinking about experiences of displacement, migration, and diaspora. In this program, librarians organize reading groups to discuss three books of Yiddish literature in translation, and one book related to the experience of a community served by their library. This book discussion series will be facilitated by librarians Linda Wentworth and Janet Ryan.

About the Discussion Series 

The book discussions will be held monthly in the Goodwin Room of the Jones Library on the third Tuesday of each month, from September through December.  Books are available for participants in this discussion series, thanks to support from the Yiddish Book Center and the “Stories of Exile” program.

There are limited spaces available, and registration in advance is required.  
Registration indicates the intent to attend and participate in all four sessions.  

To register for this discussion series, please email
.   Arrangements will be made for the pick-up of the discussion group materials at the Jones Library after registration.

Discussion Schedule

Tuesday, September 19, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. - Goodwin Room / Jones Library

In the Land of the Postscript by Chava Rosenfarb

Chava Rosenfarb was one of the most important Yiddish novelists of the post-War period. She was born in Poland, survived the concentration camps, and eventually married and relocated to Montreal. This collection of stories all deal with the afterlife of Holocaust survivors in Canada, the land of the postscript of the title. These stories, translated from Yiddish by her daughter, reflect on her personal experiences as well as those of the survivor community.

Participants are encouraged to read the entire collection, but our discussion will focus on these selected stories:  "Greenhorn", "Edgia's Revenge", and "April 19th".

Tuesday, October 17, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. - Goodwin Room / Jones Library

The Glatstein Chronicles by Jacob Glatstein

In the summer of 1934, the New-York based Yiddish modernist poet Jacob Glatstein made a trip back home to Poland to visit his dying mother. He later used this experience as the basis for two semi-autobiographical novellas, known as the Glatstein Chronicles. His writings explore the contradictions of being a Jew in the modern world, and the related themes of homelessness and exile. Glatstein is best known for his poetry and literary essays, literary forms to which he returned during the war years.

Participants are encouraged to read the novellas in their entirety, but our discussion will focus on this selected section: Book 2:  Homecoming at Twilight.

Special Tour of the Yiddish Book Center - more info coming soon

Tuesday, November 21, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. - Goodwin Room / Jones Library

On the Landing by Yente Mash

Yente Mash was born in what is now Moldova, exiled to Siberia by the Soviets as a young adult, and eventually emigrated to Israel after her return to Moldova. Once in Israel, she felt free to write about the traumatic things that had happened to her and about the destroyed world of her youth. In these stories, Mash’s characters are often in transit, embarking or disembarking — forever “on the landing.” These stories are especially relevant today, as displaced people across the globe seek refuge.

Participants are encouraged to read the entire collection, but our discussion will focus on these selected stories:  "Bridegroom Tree", "The Payback", "Irony of Fate", and "Erika".

Tuesday, December 19, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. -Goodwin Room / Jones Library

The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer Viet Thanh Nguyen called on 17 fellow refugee writers from across the globe to shed light on their experiences, and the result is The Displaced, a powerful look at the individual lives behind current headlines  These essays reveal the experience of exile, resilience in the face of trauma, and questions of identity and belonging, giving readers a compelling look at what it means to be forced to leave home and find a place of refuge. 

Participants are encouraged to read the entire collection, but our discussion will focus on selected essays - details to come.

In the Land of the Postscript
Glatstein Chronicles
On the landing
Yiddish Book Center_Stories of Exile