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The Golem of Brooklyn: A Novel

Adam Mansbach

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The Golem of Brooklyn: A Novel

The Book

In Ashkenazi Jewish folklore, a golem is a humanoid being created out of mud or clay and animated through secret prayers. Its sole purpose is to defend the Jewish people against the immediate threat of violence. It is always a rabbi who makes a golem, and always in a time of crisis.

But Len Bronstein is no rabbi—he’s a Brooklyn art teacher who steals a large quantity of clay from his school, gets extremely stoned, and manages to bring his creation to life despite knowing little about Judaism and even less about golems. Unable to communicate with his nine-foot-six, four hundred-pound, Yiddish-speaking guest, Len enlists a bodega clerk and ex-Hasid named Miri Apfelbaum to translate.

Eventually, The Golem learns English by binge-watching Curb Your Enthusiasm after ingesting a massive amount of LSD and reveals that he is a creature with an ancestral memory; he recalls every previous iteration of himself, making The Golem a repository of Jewish history and trauma. He demands to know what crisis has prompted his re-creation and whom must he destroy. When Miri shows him a video of white nationalists marching and chanting “Jews will not replace us,” the answer becomes clear.

The Golem of Brooklyn is an epic romp through Jewish history and the American present that wrestles with the deepest questions of our humanity—the conflicts between faith and skepticism, tribalism and interdependence, and vengeance and healing.

Text: Penguin Random House.

Author and Guest

Adam Mansbach is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Go the F*ck to Sleep, as well as the novels Rage is Back, The End of the Jews (winner of the California Book Award), and Angry Black White Boy, and the memoir-in-verse I Had a Brother Once. With Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel, he co-authored For This We Left Egypt? and the bestselling A Field Guide to the Jewish People, and his books for young readers include the New York Times bestseller Just Try One Bite and the award-winning Jake the Fake series. The screenwriter of the acclaimed Netflix Original film Barry, Mansbach is the recipent of a Sundance Screenwriting Lab fellowship and a two-time winner of the Reed Award and the American Association of Political Consultants' Gold Pollie Award, for his 2012 Obama/Biden campaign video "Wake The Fuck Up," and his 2020 Biden/Harris campaign ad "Same Old," both starring Samuel L. Jackson. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, New York Times Book Review, Esquire, The Believer, The Guardian, and on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, The Moth Storytelling Hour, and This American Life. His new novel is The Golem of Brooklyn. 

Adam Mansbach

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