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Running Fiercely Toward a High Thin Sound

by Judith Katz

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1162239,982 (3)None
25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION Nadine Pagan's dyke sister Jane wants to find her. Her lover Rose wants to marry her. And her mother Fay wants to forget her. All Nadine wants is to stop the buzzing in her head. Running Fiercely Toward a High Thin Soundfollows Nadine's (née Morningstar) adventures as she escapes from her incendiary Jewish family into the lesbian town of New Chelm--and far beyond. This is the novel Isaac Bashevis Singer might have written if he'd been a lesbian with a keen eye for contemporary middle-class assimilation. It's Jewish magical lesbian realism, a good story, and a dynamic piece of writing. Includes an all new introduction by the author Judith Katzis the author of two published novels,The Escape Artist andRunning Fiercely Toward a High Thin Sound, which won the 1992 Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Fiction. She teaches cultural studies and literature courses for the University of Minnesota's Center for Jewish Studies.… (more)
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As much as I enjoyed the plot, and even was able to not get lost through the magical realism, the ending was extremely disappointing, enough so that it effected my overall impression of the book. Loose ends are better than ends tied poorly! I would not recommend this book to anyone, gay or straight. ( )
  kwash12 | Apr 24, 2013 |
Running Fiercely Toward a High Thin Sound is a very unique, creative piece of literature. It is told from the point of view of three women. We are first introduced to Jane, a college student who struggles with being a good daughter and a politically active lesbian. She recounts the evening her sister Nadine sets her hair on fire. Rose is the next character we hear from, when she picks up Nadine hitchhiking. Rose falls hopelessly in love with Nadine. However, Nadine is somewhat unreachable, although she gets her voice in the novel too. Nadine suffered at the hands of her mother, whose voice is also heard and we learn she resents not being taught the violin, which Nadine has a natural, amazing talent for, and not being able to become a rabbi. Katz does a wonderful job keeping these voices separate and unique through the complex relationships presented. Some readers complain the plots slows down during a period of magical realism involving past events in Jewish history and Jewish female figures. Others see is as important to the work, presenting Nadine as a living Torah or embodiment of Judiaism fighting injustice and speaking for righteousness. No matter the interpretation, this work should, and has been, recognized for it's contribution to Jewish and GLBT literature. ( )
  MissyAnn | Mar 31, 2010 |
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Twenty-five years ago, when this book was written, there had once been a town in Western Massachusetts with a large and growing lesbian population. There was a feminist film collective, a feminist bookstore, a collectively owned and run women's restaurant, a mostly lesbian-populated rooming house, and a few miles away in two directions lesbian-owned women's land. A course of study at the state university that is now known as some version of Women, Sexuality and Gender Studies was then known simply as Women's Studies. In the bigger universe there had been women's recording companies, women's music festivals, a half-dozen dedicated feminist and lesbian-feminist publishers, theater companies, little magazines, news rags, literary reviews, and filmmmakers. The Stonewall Riots had incited a movement by then and ACT UP was clearing the path for AIDS activism. Ellen DeGeneres was not yet out as a lesbian - when she took that step she would call herself gay - and we would have to wait another twenty-five or so years for Jill Soloway's Transparent
In the beginning was the fire, ha esh, which burned in my sister Nadine Pagan's eyes, then lit up like a burning bush around her head and took with it most of her hair. It spoke to us like God spoke unto Moses. In a high thin voice it sputtered, Your sister is a lunatic, your middle child has gone mad. For who else but a crazy person would steal the Shabbes candles from off the kitchen table and with them light her own head on fire? -Prologue. The Amazing Human Touch
You were the new dyke in town, Nadine. Me, Rose Shapiro, I brought you there myself. In my own arms with my own hands, although at the time I was myself under water, the underwater life I made by rolling sticky green pot between thin sheets of paper and smoking it like some grade-B movie lesbirado. But I remember your arrival as if it happened yesterday. The story goes like this: -Chapter 1, History Lessons
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25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION Nadine Pagan's dyke sister Jane wants to find her. Her lover Rose wants to marry her. And her mother Fay wants to forget her. All Nadine wants is to stop the buzzing in her head. Running Fiercely Toward a High Thin Soundfollows Nadine's (née Morningstar) adventures as she escapes from her incendiary Jewish family into the lesbian town of New Chelm--and far beyond. This is the novel Isaac Bashevis Singer might have written if he'd been a lesbian with a keen eye for contemporary middle-class assimilation. It's Jewish magical lesbian realism, a good story, and a dynamic piece of writing. Includes an all new introduction by the author Judith Katzis the author of two published novels,The Escape Artist andRunning Fiercely Toward a High Thin Sound, which won the 1992 Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Fiction. She teaches cultural studies and literature courses for the University of Minnesota's Center for Jewish Studies.

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