In response to:
Oy! from the October 17, 1963 issue
To the Editors:
Crucify me if I ever write another book about Jews. Frankly, I have had it. Your reviewer’s grouping me with the OY GEVALTers was the final stroke. To date, I have written two novels with a Jewish background. Reviewers who favor them invariably use the expression “About a family who just happen to be Jewish.” Well, they didn’t just happen. They weren’t born that way, they didn’t choose to be that way. I made them that way. And I promise never to do it again.
Reviewers take note. Henceforth, you will have to place Blechman in a different category. No more “a young Jewish novelist” or “among our newer and more jaded Jewish writers.” I know it will be hard, this refusal to wear the shoe that fits, to sleep in the bed my parents made. But I’m weary of that literary and oh-so-handy Star of David. I’m off to another category. If you think I can’t stick daggers into Protestants, just try me. If you think I’m afraid of the Index, wait and see. Call it a betrayal of trust, call it heresy, but I’m tired of being typed.
So farewell Bar-Mitzvah. It’s been great needling you. Farewell, bankrupt garment manufacturer, I don’t want it wholesale. Goodbye, stout-hearted Mamala, Tantala and old Granny Stern. I’m off to new lands. Maybe Christian Scientists, Seventh Day Adventists, a novel about the Stations of the Cross. The main thing is to shake those critics off my trail, make them lose the scent, backtrack, confuse them. What I mean to say is—no more OY’s for me.
New York, N.Y.
October 31, 1963