** Advance ticket sales end at noon on 9/26, but we'll have room for walk-ins at the door—just let us know in line that you need to purchase a ticket. **
Booksmith, Berkeley Arts & Letters and JCC East Bay present the launch event for #1 New York Times bestselling author of Go the F**k to Sleep, Adam Mansbach and his new novel The Golem of Brooklyn, a dazzlingly imaginative, ferociously funny story of an art teacher, a bodega clerk, and a five-thousand-year-old clay crisis monster. Adam will be in conversation with Emmy Award-winning comedian and author, most recently, of Do the Work!, W. Kamau Bell. Save the date and join us!
In Ashkenazi Jewish folklore, a golem is a humanoid being created out of mud or clay and animated through secret prayers. Its sole purpose is to defend the Jewish people against the immediate threat of violence. It is always a rabbi who makes a golem, and always in a time of crisis.
But Len Bronstein is no rabbi--he's a Brooklyn art teacher who steals a large quantity of clay from his school, gets extremely stoned, and manages to bring his creation to life despite knowing little about Judaism and even less about golems. Unable to communicate with his nine-foot-six, four hundred-pound, Yiddish-speaking guest, Len enlists a bodega clerk and ex-Hasid named Miri Apfelbaum to translate.
Eventually, The Golem learns English by binge-watching Curb Your Enthusiasm after ingesting a massive amount of LSD and reveals that he is a creature with an ancestral memory; he recalls every previous iteration of himself, making The Golem a repository of Jewish history and trauma. He demands to know what crisis has prompted his re-creation and whom must he destroy. When Miri shows him a video of white nationalists marching and chanting "Jews will not replace us," the answer becomes clear.
The Golem of Brooklyn is an epic romp through Jewish history and the American present that wrestles with the deepest questions of our humanity--the conflicts between faith and skepticism, tribalism and interdependence, and vengeance and healing.
"Adam Mansbach's latest did not put me the F**k to Sleep. Quite the opposite, this is the update to the Golem legend I've been dreaming of since I survived Jewish Day School. Run don't schlepp to the nearest bookstore and get ready to split your kishkes laughing." – Gary Shteyngart
"Jewish humor goes back a long way. And to a pantheon that includes Brooks, Bruce, Seinfeld, and David, add Mansbach at its virtual apex, with acerbic wit and an absurd premise: a supernatural avenger, a folklore savior of persecuted Jews, let loose in Trump's America. Such satisfying calamity, this crisp book is easily the funniest novel I've ever read, and yet achieves an uncanny profundity. Mansbach's voice is absolutely singular." – Dan Charnas, New York Times bestselling author of Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, The Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm
"Fast-paced and full of memorable characters, Adam Mansbach's The Golem of Brooklyn is both a searing and hilarious tale of how far we're willing to go to protect ourselves and our community, and who we become when we do so. Mansbach's ability to infuse wisdom, political insight, history and humor is commendable, and makes this book a page-turner." – Fatimah Asghar, Carol Shields Prize-winning author of When We Were Sisters
"This novel could not be any funnier--or any more important. A devastating romp through history, a bonkers road trip through America, and a searing examination of the question that will determine our future: how do we confront those who hate us, and at what cost?" – W. Kamau Bell
Adam Mansbach is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Go the Fuck to Sleep, as well as the novels Rage is Back, The End of the Jews (winner of the California Book Award), and Angry Black White Boy, and the memoir-in-verse I Had a Brother Once. With Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel, he co-authored For This We Left Egypt? and the bestselling A Field Guide to the Jewish People, and his books for young readers include the New York Times bestseller Just Try One Bite and the award-winning Jake the Fake series. The screenwriter of the acclaimed Netflix Original film Barry, Mansbach is the recipient of a Sundance Screenwriting Lab fellowship and a two-time winner of the Reed Award and the American Association of Political Consultants' Gold Pollie Award, for his 2012 Obama/Biden campaign video "Wake the Fuck Up," and his 2020 Biden/Harris campaign ad "Same Old," both starring Samuel L. Jackson. Mansbach is also the founder of the 1990s hip hop journal Elementary, and worked for years as a drum tech for the legendary drummer Elvin Jones. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, New York Times Book Review, Esquire, The Believer, The Guardian, and on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, The Moth Storytelling Hour, and This American Life. His new novel is The Golem of Brooklyn. Photo by Susan Chainey.
W. Kamau Bell is a stand-up comedian, television host, director, and producer. He won three Emmy awards for his CNN series United Shades of America. Kamau also won a Peabody award for his four-part docuseries We Need To Talk About Cosby. His newest project is the HBO documentary 1000% Me: Growing Up Mixed. Kamau’s first book has the easy-to-remember title, The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian. His second book was the New York Times Bestseller Do The Work: An Antiracism Activity Book. He is on the board of directors of DonorsChoose, and he is the ACLU’s celebrity ambassador for racial justice. Kamau and his wife Melissa Hudson Bell are the co-founders of Who Knows Best Productions, a media production company in Oakland, California. Photo by Aundre Larrow.
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