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To read Lore Segal, the most autobiographical of writers, is to appreciate that comedy and tragedy are co-conspirators of everyday life. In The Journal I Did Not Keep, a collection of her work that reads like a literary retrospective, the condition of being old is examined in a series of new pieces that avoid sentimentality, while reveling in the blackly comic. One of thousands of mainly Jewish children to escape Nazi Europe for Britain on the Kindertransport, an experience she later immortalized in Other People’s Houses, Segal’s best-known and most widely admired novel is Her First American, published in 1985, in which she tackles race relations with an outsider’s bravura. In 2008, at the age of 80, she was a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize for her collection of 13 interlinked stories, Shakespeare’s Kitchen, which included her O. Henry Prize–winning “The Reverse Bug.” She considers Jane Austen—included in her list of ten favorite books—to be her greatest influence. “My mother and I passed Jane Austen to and fro,” she recalls. “Without being boring about it at all, Austen cares about how honest you are.” Below are Lore Segal's favorite books, available to purchase individually or as a set. See the full list...
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