LITERATURE: BASS 2007 – The Bris

This would likely qualify as horror story for many male readers, this story by Eileen Pollack–who seems to understand well the fear getting a circumcision as an adult would inspire.

We certainly have the wanting and how far someone would go to satisfy that want; though it is of the antagonist, an old man dying who put off the complete conversion to Judaism out of the natural fear of what a circumcision entails, who lived his life as a Jew and facing death, is finally willing to overcome his fear and have this done so he can be buried next to his wife in the conservative Jewish cemetery.  He tells his grown son his wishes and this is where some of the conflicts arise.  He is met, of course, with reluctance and failure to compassionately fulfill an old man’s wish. The son himself must face the fact that his father was not who he thought he was, and that this seemingly minor operation was something his father was not willing to do for his wife and family.  Or, it would seem, for himself as following the early death of his wife, he likely remained celibate rather than let another woman in on his secret.

A bit long, a bit too much ‘telling’ of story, and a bit less dramatic than such a plight might otherwise inspire, the concept of the story is still quite engrossing and with the additional deadline of imminent death, it’s still a bit more than the usual make-a-wish foundation type of quandry to resolve. 

Nicely done, though I would feel that once the problem is revealed, it might be a bit more hurried along in story, and while other characters introduced that spread this narrative out a bit added a little to the fullness of the story, the process may have also diluted the overall drama.

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