Short stories by Cynthia Ozick

Cynthia Ozick, (born April 17, 1928, New York, New York, U.S.), American novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and intellectual whose works seek to define the challenge of remaining Jewish in contemporary American life. By delving into the oldest religious sources of Judaism, Ozick explored much new territory.

Ozick received a B.A. in English in 1949 from New York University and an M.A. in 1950 from the Ohio State University. Her first novelTrust (1966), is the story of a woman’s rejection of her wealthy American Jewish family and her search for her renegade father in Europe. It has echoes of Henry James in its juxtaposition of American and European settings. In subsequent books, such as Bloodshed and Three Novellas (1976), Ozick struggled with the idea that the creation of art (a pagan activity) is in direct opposition to principles of Judaism, which forbids the creation of idols. The psychological aftermath of the Holocaust is another theme of her work, especially in Levitation: Five Fictions (1982) and the novels The Cannibal Galaxy (1983) and The Shawl (1989). She often drew upon traditional Jewish mysticism to expand upon her themes. One of her recurring characters is Ruth Puttermesser. In 1997 Ozick published The Puttermesser Papers, a short novel consisting of narratives and false memories of the aging Puttermesser, who in one story brings a female golem to life in order to save New York City, with disastrous results. Ozick’s later works turn away from the theme of the sacred and the profane. Her novel The Messiah of Stockholm (1987) is, in part, a meditation on the nature of writing. Heir to the Glimmering World (2004; also published as The Bear Boy) tells the story of a young woman hired as a nanny in the home of two Jewish-German academics exiled to New York City in the 1930s. Diction: A Quartet, a collection of four short stories, was published in 2008. The novel Foreign Bodies (2010) was inspired by Henry James’s The Ambassadors.

Many of Ozick’s essays have been collected in Art & Ardor (1983), Metaphor & Memory (1989), Fame & Folly (1996), Quarrel & Quandary (2000), The Din in the Head (2006), and Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays (2016).

Listing 7 stories.

Trying to escape his Jewish past with the Holocaust, Luchinski is a Polish man who serves as a UN diplomat to an African country. He encounters people who and experiences that encourage him come to terms with his identity and past, but shows little signs of change.

In modern day NYC, an unmarried, fifty-something-year-old lawyer takes a year off work to contemplate her fate and plunges into an obsession with the life of the 19th century writer George Eliot—and with recreating Eliot's lifelong love affair.

Burdened by the memories of her time in Nazi-occupied Poland, a woman destroys her antique shop in New York and moves to Florida, but is still haunted by a persistent researcher and visions of her deceased daughter.

A Russian emigre calls a long-lost relative in New York asking for asylum. Her strange, self-sabotaging actions call into question her real intentions.

A lawyer working in New York comes across a mysterious woman on the docks who comes to claim him as her own and reinvent his life.

A starving young teenager struggles to survive with her infant on their march towards a Nazi concentration camp. However, another prisoner plots to steal the teenage mom's magical shawl on which the infant relies.

An older Jewish man living in America becomes increasingly jealous of a fellow writer as his Yiddish poetry is continuously rejected by publishers, while his colleague's short stories are translated into English and earn him fame and success.