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A Song of Ilan: A Novel

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“Jacob Paul’s A Song of Ilan is a tour de force of structural experiment that leaves not a thread untied and moves from beginning to end with a mesmerizing if not say horrifying fatality. Ilan, once an Israeli soldier, shot a suicide bomber to death in a cafe; ten years later, alcoholic, spiritually paralyzed, he turns himself into a suicide bomber, haunting the New York subway system with explosives under his coat, the only truth he knows, the only way to God. A spectacular book, beautiful in its rhymes, daunting in its ethical interrogation.”

~Douglas Glover, author of Elle and Savage Love

“A philosophic meditation on the interplay between religion, violence, and personal faith, A Song of Ilan is about what it means to live in a world after 9/11, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as seen through its protagonist, Ilan’s, desire for God. Through Ilan we see how a direct relationship with God (or the hope for God), divorced from the structure of religious institutions, might take the form of romantic love, and in that relationship’s crisis, take on the perils, obsessions, and violence of that love. A Song of Ilan is necessary reading, especially against the backdrop of recent conflict in Gaza, for anyone who wishes to understand the personal, spiritual, and political impact of religious terrorism, and of the violence that seeks to suppress it.”

~New York City Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the City Council Jewish Caucus

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Recent Articles & Essays

In conversation with Dr. Hayden Carron about Adolfo Garcia Ortega’s Holocaust novel, The Birthday Buyer, on Fiction Writers Review.

Beautiful Soul: An American Elegy, on Fiction Writers Review: my review of Joshua Corey’s excellent debut novel.

“Slouching Past Totality; Or, What a Post-Postmodern Holocaust Novel Might Be.” This is the third of my essays dealing with questions of representation and of what might come after Postmodernism. It’s about ethics and agency and representation and how we might say what we say if we say anything at all.

“Columbus Day: Mimesis Is Thievery.” This is the second of my essays dealing with questions of representation. It’s a personal essay about my sixth birthday, which fell on Columbus Day. It’s also where I suggest a theory of mimesis based around replacement