May 2015: Katz/Cohen by Samuel Atsrachan


KATZ/COHEN BY Samuel Atsrachan

You need a score card or in this case a FAMILY TREE to follow the story (see the diagram to the right). If you want a challenge you must read this 1995 book. If you try, you will find it fascinating. Call Jerry Medowar for a copy 623-6739 or e-mail

KATZ/COHEN: The fly leaf says:

"A big, sprawling Jewish family saga, epic in scope, almost lyrical in the telling Katz-Cohen is the story of three generations of New York City Jews, from the forties to the seventies. The Katzes and Cohens are two families, tied closely by intermarriage and a shared past, who emigrated from Russia and Poland in the 1920’s. At the novel’s opening, just before the outbreak of World War II, they have begun the rise from poverty to affluence; but the East Bronx is still home to most of them.

There each Sunday, they gather round the massive dining-room table in the apartment of Eshka and Dr. Saul Katz to eat cake, drink tea, play pinochle and compare notes on a world which will change radically during the years to come as they move up in the world becoming more complex and more terrifying than anyone had ever dreamed.  Samuel Atsrachan’s brilliant novel portrays them struggling with material as well as intellectual, emotional, and spiritual hungers, as they try to take their place in that world.  

In the tradition of Irving Howe, Elie Weisel, and Saul Bellow, Katz-Cohen ranges forward and back, telling the story of this vast Jewish family through the years—its losses and gains, its triumphs and tragedies.  Marvelously written, with an acute eye for the evocative detail, it conveys a profoundly nostalgic but unsentimental view of the past."

 :             :              :
FATHER        NELSON          FATHER
KATZ        Name Change       COHEN
  &             :               &
MOTHER          :            MOTHER

KATZ            :             COHEN

(Continued in the book...)