Beyond Mere Embarrassment: Jewish Identity in Old School

Beyond Mere Embarrassment: Jewish Identity in Old School
Thursday, April 30, 2009
8:30pm @ Plaza Branch
Recommended reading:
Old School Related Reading

A National Endowment for the Arts initiative, The Big Read returns to Kansas City in April 2009 to bring readers the Tobias Wolff novel Old School.

Through the combined efforts of the Libraries of Greater Kansas City, there are more opportunities than ever to join The Big Read – and the Kansas City Public Library is doing its part with a series of discussions focused on themes presented throughout Old School. Get acquainted with the novel or enhance your understanding of its meaning through these presentations.

Related events:
Real Characters: The Writing Lifestyle Depicted in Old School
The Forked Tongue: Truth and Fiction in Old School
A Conversation with Tobias Wolff

Beyond Mere Embarrassment:
Jewish Identity in Old School

The culture of the 1960s and beyond is the focus of Beyond Mere Embarrassment: Jewish Identity in Old School with Ben Furnish on Thursday, April 30, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

The earliest deceit in Old School centers on a high school student who conceals his Jewish heritage from his classmates. To understand his motivations, the reader must look beyond the novel to why many people of Jewish origin in America have historically felt compelled to downplay their heritage in order to fit into the wider culture. The stakes involved go beyond mere cultural embarrassment.

Furnish is managing editor of BkMk Press at UMKC and writes about Jewish literature.