King of Yiddish

Curt Leviant

Available December, 2015

Synopsis: A serio-comic novel that tells of Shmulik Gafni, a professor of Yiddish. Two narratives contrast: One: Gafni’s extended search in Poland for the man who murdered his father in the notorious Kielce pogrom. Two: Gafni’s infatuation with Malina, a pretty non-Jewish Polish linguist in Jerusalem to study Yiddish. Guess who her private tutor is? Rumors fly.



ISBN: 978-1-60489-161-4 Hard cover $30.00        Sale $15.00

ISBN: 978-1-60489-160-7  Trade paper $18.95     Sale $8.50

312 Pages

  About the Author: 
Curt Leviant is author of nine critically acclaimed works of fiction.

He has won the Edward Lewis Wallant Award and writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Jerusalem Foundation, the Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice, and the New Jersey Arts Council.

His work has been included in Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: the O. Henry Awards, and other anthologies – and praised by two Nobel laureates: Saul Bellow and Elie Wiesel.

With the publication of Curt Leviant’s novels into French, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Rumanian and other languages – some of which have become international best sellers – reviewers have hailed his books as masterpieces and compared his imaginative fiction to that of Nabokov, Borges, Kafka, Italo Calvino, Vargas Llosa, Harold Pinter, and Tolstoy

The French version of  Diary of an Adulterous Woman was singled out as one of the Twenty Best Books of the Year in France and among the seven best novels.

The French version of   Kafka’s Son was hailed on French television as a “work of genius” and by French critics as “a masterpiece”.  One French reviewer said that the novel was....

But the most memorable praise has come from Chauncey Mabe, Book Editor of South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel, who wrote:

“Curt Leviant is one of the greatest novelists you’ve never heard of.  His serio-comic novels, including Diary of an Adulterous Woman (the best novel I’ve read during the past ten years), should place him in company with Joseph Heller or even Saul Bellow…”                            




 Excerpt from the Book:

Somewhere in Chapter 7 of the great poet-philosopher Yehuda Halevi’s masterwork, The Kuzari, the author states that men want always to be someone else:  workers, poets:  doctors, soldiers; barbers, waggoners.  And everyone, he continues, wants to be somewhere else.  If you’re here, you want to be there; if you’ve reached there, you want to be back here again.  Landlubbers want to sail the seas; sailors long to farm the land.

Ditto Shmulik Gafni.  A simple professor of Yiddish was he, yet he yearned to be active in world politics, to be at the center of events.  And that meant only one thing.  American politics and the American president.  Then one day his wish came true.

It was only after dreaming for months that he was at presidential press conferences, sitting in the back, not saying a word, just happy to be there, hoping that in some good-luck magical way his innate wisdom would be discovered, that he decided to become a presidential advisor.

Shmulik Gafni got his first opportunity to engage with world history during the Cuban missile crisis.  His advice to John F. Kennedy came from his experience in the Israel Defense Forces where he served as a major.  Act, never react.  While others advised JFK to tough it out, make strong pronouncements at first, verbal threats later.  In other words, while the Russian missile ships were heading for Cuba, wage a war of words and warnings with press conferences and lots of blather.

Gafni advised simply:  They’re sending ships. We’ll send ships.  Move a flotilla of four battleships and two aircraft carriers loaded with jets and accompanying warships westward to meet the eastbound Russian missile ships. Gafni predicted – correctly – they'll turn around well before the US Navy draws near, much less fire a shot.

His career as a presidential advisor was made.