Irene Dische: The Empress of Weehawken

(Fiction, 307 pp. 2007)

Frau Professor Doktor Elisabeth Rother is self-centered, cynical, sarcastic and incorrigibly anti-Semitic. A German army nurse in WWI, she marries a Jewish surgeon after he converts to Catholicism. To Elisabeth’s dismay, their racially impure daughter, grows up, marries a Jewish professor and has two children, a boy too intelligent for his own good and a rebellious daughter. In the formidable voice of her grandmother, the author pushes the boundaries of autobiographical fiction in a novel that is and is not based on her family history.

  • Reading group guide
  • Review by Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times, September 28, 2007
  • ReviewKirkus
  • Review by Sasha Weiss, Jewish Daily Forward, October 27, 2006
  • Review by Michael Janairo, Times Union, October 7, 2007
  • Review by Amy Wilentz, Los Angeles Times, August 5, 2007
  • Review by Debra Ginsberg, San Diego Union, August 5, 2007
  • Evelyn Shih interviews Irene Dische