Cynthia Ozick is a New York-based essayist, short story writer and novelist.
The Puttermesser Papers; The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories; The Shawl; Dictation: A Quartet; The Din in the Head: Essays
Nominee for the National Book Award (The Puttermesser Papers), 1984 nominee for the PEN/Faulkner Award, 2000 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism (Quarrel and Quandary), 1986 recipient of the Rea Award for the Short Story
Which one or two American books or plays would you yourself recommend to the foreign leaders?
Daniel Deronda by George Eliot
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz
The reason? To educate their hearts. And to lift the scales from their eyes.
Who in your childhood—for example, parent or teacher—encouraged you to read books, and which one or two books do you remember most fondly?
My father, mother, brother, cousins, playmates, everyone I knew was reading. I read books from the public library and books recommended (a classmate put me onto Vanity Fair, and I stayed up with it all one night and into noon of the next day, unable to stop). An uncle who was a poet gave me Just So Stories, another uncle brought a three-volume Shakespeare set, a third uncle passed on his son's Don Quixote... “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive!”
Which books by writers of the other G8 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom) have been most important to you as a writer?
Russia: Chekhov, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Bunin, Nabokov, the Yiddish writers Chaim Grade, Sholem Aleichem, Peretz
Britain: Oh! Countless! Austen, George Eliot, James, Conrad, Forster, Woolf, Byatt ... Countless!
Austria: Joseph Roth
Germany: Heine, Thomas Mann
France: Maupassant, Balzac, Proust