Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Zachary Lazar

Zachary Lazar is the author of the novels I Pity the Poor Immigrant and Sway, and the memoir Evening's Empire.

From his Q & A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: Why did you decide to include Meyer Lansky as one of the main characters in [I Pity the Poor Immigrant]?

A: My previous book, Evening’s Empire, was a nonfiction book about my father, who was murdered by two contract killers when I was six years old.

That story is very complicated, but it introduced me to the world of organized crime, and in particular the Jewish iteration of organized crime. I began to get more and more interested in the way Jewish gangsters have been represented.

They are often romanticized, or caricatured, in a way that obscures the reality of how violent they were. The idea of violent Jews is still surprising to people. Many Jews, at least American Jews, don't know how to process the information.

Since the book came out, I have met dozens of people who are eager to tell me that they had a relative who knew Meyer Lansky. It seems...[read on]
Learn more about I Pity the Poor Immigrant at the Little, Brown and Company website.

Lazar's novel Sway is on the list of forty-six essential rock reads.

My Book, The Movie: Sway and the Page 69 Test: Sway.

The Page 69 Test: Evening's Empire.

The Page 69 Test: I Pity the Poor Immigrant.

--Marshal Zeringue