Sing This at My Funeral is not your conventional ghost story. Invoking Franz Kafka’s words, ‘Writing letters is actually an intercourse with ghosts, and by no means just the ghost of the addressee but also with one’s own ghost, which secretly evolves inside the letter one is writing or even in a whole series of letters’, this moving memoir by David Slucki gives shape to the ghost of Zaida Jakub, the grandfather he never knew. Following his beloved father Sluggo’s death in 2015, the author, a Melbourne-born professor of Jewish Studies at the College of Charleston, discovered a series of letters written by Zaida Jakub to his brother Mendel in Los Angeles over three decades. Weaving together excerpts of these letters and incorporating family photographs, the memoir reconstructs the story of Zaida Jakub’s profound personal loss during the Holocaust and examines its effects on subsequent generations. In Slucki’s own words, this book is about ‘how the difficult memories of the past shaped the relationships between fathers and their sons, how the ghosts kept multiplying, never far from the surface’.
Merav Fima is a PhD candidate in the Literary and Cultural Studies Program at Monash University. Her prose and poetry have appeared in a number of anthologies and literary journals. Her short story ‘Bride Immaculate’ won the first prize in the Energheia Literary Competition in Matera, Italy (2014). She is the translator of Gal Ventura’s scholarly monograph, Maternal Breast-Feeding and Its Substitutes in Nineteenth-Century French Art, published by Brill in 2018. She is currently at work on her first novel.
From the New Issue
The Whole Picture: The colonial story of the art in our museums and why we need to talk about it by Alice ProcterReviewed by Meg Foster
Literary StudiesReviewed by James Ley
Net Privacy: How we can be free in an age of surveillance by Sacha MolitoriszReviewed by Alex Tighe
Law in War: Freedom and restriction in Australia during the Great War by Catherine BondReviewed by Kieran Pender