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Two Jews on a Train


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About the Author

Adam Biro is a French publisher and author who was born in Hungary. His previous books include Dictionnaire general du surrealisme et de ses environs (coedited with Rene Passeron) and Tsigane. Catherine Tihanyi is a research associate in the Department of Anthropology at Western Washington University.


"All Eastern European Jewish jokes start this way, or almost." So says French/Hungarian novelist Adam Biro of Two Jews on a Train (trans. by Catherine Tihanyi) of his collection of 22 anecdotes, many of which were told to him by his father and grandfather. From "Fish Heads" (two men trick a Hungarian officer into believing these are the secret to Jewish intelligence) to "Golf" (a rabbi goes golfing alone on the Sabbath and makes all holes-in-one God's punishment: no one will believe him), these good-natured shorts are more likely to elicit smiles than laughs. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"In applying an Old World sensibility to the present, the author underscores the nature of the divide between them, and the increasingly despairing punchline of each joke seems to become: Why did You abandon us?" - The New Yorker "A sort of whimsical Jewish Arabian Nights that takes you to Baghdad and New York, Paris and Brussels. If its spirit could be summed up in one sentence, it might be the one from the book describing a 100-year-old patriarch, who 'loved life in spite of his infinite despair about human beings and their condition." - Elaine Kalman Naves, Montreal Gazette "Somewhere between Isaac Bashevis Singer and Morey Amsterdam." - Kirkus Reviews "You have to read Adam Biro... for the little details between the lines, which are awe inspiring!" - La liberte, on the French edition "There are tales of schnorrers, matchmakers, gossips, immigrants, a golf-playing rabbi.... Between the lines are tales of the fragility of love, friendship and of life itself, and the possibilities of redemption. The strength of these stories is Biro's skill as a story-teller and his apparent love of the material. He has a light touch and the tales are short, but packed full of imagery and emotion." - Sandee Brawarsky, Jewish Week

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