I picked up "You, or Someone Like You" by Chandler Burr yesterday; I'm halfway through.
It's about Jewish ethnoreligiousity, or religioethnicity, literature/language, and Hollywood, and New York. There's too much name dropping, and strange punctuation which distract and bore me, even though the protagonist complains about others' unorthodox (read: incorrect) punctuation. And there's not enough literary detail for the shallow, ill-read to construct a reading list based on the protagonist's description. Darn.
Yet, I so get the Jew-ish-ness, (it's Burr who put in the first hyphen,) because it is so similar to Japanese-ness; the family, the all encompassing love and the very narrow but unspoken definition of "us", (notice I didn't say "I" or "we",) one agrees to to receive that love; the straying but not entirely discarding.
I go back to my third year in college when I sensed English Literature in an American university meant literature from the British Isles, (yes, we read Synge, too,) whereas I grew up believing it was anything in the English language, (as it is understood by many Japanese), no matter what variation; I contemplated ditching my beloved Dr Vane (whose grading policies I understood) in favor of Dr Moyer (who was an unknown quantity, the dad of a friend and a step-dad of another). I was weak; I always stuck with professors I loved. And when discovered Joyce's regret for/anger at never having gotten the call, and his need to leave Dublin in order to love it, well, I thought Deity made Dr Vane choose Joyce for my BA and I hung on, just. I still wonder if that was the right choice.
Right now I have a love/hate relationship with the book; I think it's described as "layered"; I think it's going to be my best read of 2009.