At Odds in the World: Essays on Jewish Canadian Women Writers brings together a series of essays by Ruth Panofsky 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, both new and old, that often is hostile and unaccommodating. Seven authors are represented here—Miriam Waddington, Adele Wiseman, Helen Weinzweig, Fredelle Bruser Maynard and her daughter Joyce Maynard, Nora Gold, and Lilian Nattel. Each writer seeks to investigate the intersecting complexities of her identity as a Canadian, a Jew, and a woman, as well as to 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 in Canadian-Jewish Literature
“This is a remarkable book by one of the foremost writers on contemporary Canadian Jewish women’s literature. The seven essays in this collection focus on the work of lesser-known writers like Helen Weinzweig and more widely acclaimed authors like Miriam Waddington and Adele Wiseman, thereby providing an illuminating and insightful overview of the works and lives of authors who have never been studied as a group before. Ruth Panofsky’s book is an important contribution to our understanding of both women’s literature and Jewish literature in Canada in the second part of the 20th century.”
—Goldie Morgentaler, Professor of English, University of Lethbridge