web analytics
May 30, 2015 / 12 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


I’m Going Back to Hollywood


Hollywood

The film of his screenplay flopped. A collection of short stories was practically ignored. Ironically, many years later, when Lansky became required reading in courses in American Literature, the collection was considered a classic. He wrote a fine, miniature novel about baseball, and an uninspired tale of a writer with a pot belly and middle-age crisis. For years he seemed to be forgotten. At literary parties, he was invariably the center of some ugly, drunken brawl. Critics said what a shame. But Lansky surprised them all. With some great secret strength, he sat himself down at his typewriter and pounded out the best selling book of the decade – a savage satire of a Jewish mother who destroys the life of her artistic son with Jewish guilt.

Throughout the summer, on beaches and subways, everyone was reading Lansky’s book. More readers rushed out to buy it when the Jewish community called the writer a self-hating Jew. The paperback edition broke all records for sales. Lansky’s second marriage to a curvy Swedish masseuse, four inches taller than he was, made all the society pages. All of his works were reprinted, and any article he wrote, whether on politics, women, space travel, or fishing, netted him gold. In the very same year, he won the Book Critics Award, the Pulitzer Prize, had a child with his Swede, divorced her, moved in with a black soul singer, went through spring training with the Dodgers, starred for three weeks in an Off-Broadway play which he directed and wrote, had a small heart attack, and walked out of the hospital engaged to his Puerto Rican nurse.

In interviews, he talked about repentance and giving up marijuana and booze. He split up with his singer, bought a house up in Maine, and took the summer off to rest from his heart attack and relax with Juanita, his much younger caretaker. In September, he mailed three-hundred manuscript pages and a note to his publisher, saying that he was thinking of scrapping the rest of the book. It was a powerful Kafkaesque intrigue, set in a Soviet prison, the story of a loyal party worker exiled for being a Jew. Even conservative critics had to take off their hats. “A metaphor of the soul imprisoned by a fantasy of hope and poetic despair,” the New York Times critic called it. The Jewish community turned to embrace him. Prophetically, the plight of Soviet Jews became an international struggle. On the eve of his nomination for the Nobel Prize, E. Lane, born Lansky, stood in the doorway of his snowbound Maine cottage and announced his marriage to his housekeeping nurse. On the pinnacle of his great success, a Newsweek reporter braved his way through the snow to ask Lansky what he hoped to do now.

“Drink beer, watch TV, and have as many children as I can,” the writer said with a laugh.

In short, in his forty-eighth year, the novelist became an American legend. Pictures, posters, and stories about him appeared everywhere. He was either loved or hated wherever he went. When his wife ran off with a rock star, Lansky bought an island off Tahiti and lived there without electricity or plumbing for months. Then suddenly, he abandoned the role of the hermit and came home to run as an independent candidate for the governorship of New York.

Perhaps his defeat, or his chain of busted romances, or the prospect of turning fifty was responsible for his change. Or perhaps all of the whiskey and nightlife were simply wearing him down. Whatever the reason, the seemingly indefatigable novelist sunk into a lasting depression. The occasional pieces he published, while still graced with genius, were flat. Instead of writing about the world, he wrote about himself. Even his most faithful readers grew tired with the subject. His publisher tried to release his old sellers in fancy new jackets, but the public wasn’t fooled. Ephraim became forgotten like a racehorse laid out to stud. His fourth marriage to a Japanese poet passed without fanfare. The petite Oriental barely came up to his shoulders. “Ephraim Lane has finally found a woman with whom he can feel like a man,” his first, or was it second, wife said. Their betrothal lasted a little under a year. In the meantime, two stinkers were published bearing his name, a fat novel about a South American revolution which substituted detail for depth, and another collection of essays, short stories, and solipsistic pieces which almost no one bought.

About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

4 Responses to “I’m Going Back to Hollywood”

  1. sc_85488a530d0ffb25dbbe38cd75f36c2c says:

    SUPER STORY!!!

  2. shmuelik says:

    Tevye should have listened to his rabbi. It’s a big avera to go to Israel like a wall against the goyim before Moshiach comes.

  3. chavazlotkin says:

    You’re really going back to Hollywood??? I think you better reread some of your columns from Arutz7. I recently heard Rabbi Gold tell of when he first made aliyah. He lost his job, & had a wife & kids to support. When a job offer from the USA came, he seriously considered it. His wife said that it sounded fine — just that he should be sure & send a check each month. That woke him up. He didn’t go. And neither should you!!! (Some people manage to live here while they work in the USA, either via computer or by commuting. If you really need the USA paycheck, maybe you can figure out some way to work there & live here.)

  4. The plague is spreading… once the world becomes gay and happy, from where will the next degeneration come….

Comments are closed.

Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
Current Top Story
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.
Ted Cruz Calls for Financial Boycott of Universities Backing BDS Israel
Latest Blogs Stories
Riskin Glick Debate

“Land for Peace is a security issue, not a halachik issue” claimed Rabbi Riskin

Fatah1.jpg

Fatah only agrees to talks with Israel to destroy Israel and strengthen its own corrupt&violent rule

Highway 5

The only places where Arab access may be restricted would be what Americans call “gated communities”

Doug Goldstein

Are natural sources of energy, such as thorium and molten salt, effective alternatives to oil?

HaModia’s list of the new government’s ministers omitted the women ministers’ first names: WHY?

Introducing Obama’s latest 2-state solution…

To friends in America: Wishing someone “Happy Memorial Day” means you don’t understand the holiday.

President Obama believes anti-Semites limit their anti-Semitism to discrimination and organizing, but will always put their survival first!

What motivates a successful leader? Who are the best kinds of people to use as your role model?

The warnings came true: Among the 1000 released terrorists, many returned to terror activity

Torah is to be lived. Rabbi Moshe Levinger was a completely living Torah, the Torah of Eretz Yisrael

“Said Rabbi Yochanan: Happy are those who see the fall of Tadmor…” (Talmud Yerushalmi)

Why has Prime Minister Netanyahu given Erdan & Hanegbi insultingly low-level cabinet appointments?

Without Israel, the Jewish People are scattered nomads lacking Torah’s true national grandeur&power

Will it get better/worse for Bibi or does the wily Bibi know/plan something that will shock us all?

Dr. Vernon Smith, 2002 Economics Nobel Prize winner, on predicting housing markets & economic issues

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman
Audience at Israel Day Concert

The warnings came true: Among the 1000 released terrorists, many returned to terror activity

Rabbi Levinger (zt"l)

Torah is to be lived. Rabbi Moshe Levinger was a completely living Torah, the Torah of Eretz Yisrael

Without Israel, the Jewish People are scattered nomads lacking Torah’s true national grandeur&power

If other pleasures exceed the joy we feel for Jerusalem, then something is wrong with our Judaism.

There will be peace when we listen to G-d and do want he tells us to do – all for our very own good.

Rav Kook often studied Rebbe Nachman’s writings with guests during Suedat Shleeshi meal on Shabbat

Many think they’re serving G-d but they’re really asleep-Rebbe Nachman taught stories to wake people

Point is, the eyes are the soul’s windows and forbidden images, face it or not, pollute a Jew’s soul

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/felafel-on-rye/im-going-back-to-hollywood/2012/06/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: