Perle Besserman

Recipient of the Theodore Hoepfner Fiction Award and past writer-in-residence at the Mishkenot Sha’ananim Art Colony in Jerusalem, Perle Besserman was praised by Isaac Bashevis Singer for the “clarity and feeling for mystic lore” of her writing and by Publisher’s Weekly for its “wisdom [that] points to a universal practice of the heart.” 

Her fiction includes the novels Kabuki Boy (Aqueous Books), Widow Zion (Pinyon Publishing), the autobiographical novel Pilgrimage (Houghton Mifflin), and a linked story collection Yeshiva Girl  (Homebound Publications). Her forthcoming novel The Kabbalah Master (Monkfish) will be published in 2018.

Her Pushcart Prize-nominated short fiction has appeared in The Southern Humanities Review, The Nebraska Review, Briarcliff Review, Transatlantic Review, 13th Moon, Bamboo Ridge, Lilith, Hurricane Alice, Crab Creek Review, Other Voices, Agni, Southerly, North American Review, Page Seventeen, Midstream, and in numerous literary journals online.

Ms. Besserman’s creative nonfiction includes The Private Labyrinth of Malcolm Lowry: Under the Volcano and the Cabbala (Holt); Kabbalah: The Way of the Jewish Mystic (Doubleday/Random House/Barnes and Noble); The Way of the Jewish Mystics (Shambhala/Random House); Crazy Clouds: Zen Radicals, Rebels and Reformers (with Manfred Steger, Shambhala/Random House); Owning It: Zen and the Art of Facing Life (Kodansha); The Shambhala Guide to Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism (Shambhala/Random House); Teachings of the Jewish Mystics (Shambhala); Grassroots Zen (with Manfred Steger, Tuttle), Grassroots Zen: Community and Practice in the 21st-Century (with Manfred Steger, Monkfish) A New Kabbalah for Women (Palgrave Macmillan), and A New Zen for Women (Palgrave Macmillan). Her books have been translated into over ten languages.

Book Reviews by Perle Besserman

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Books about goddesses are generally lyrical, lovely—and flat. Tabloid reflections of the mindless, wealthy, beautiful women who laze around the pool at expensive spas.

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John Banville’s tour de force tribute to Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady will gladden the hearts of readers with a penchant for languorous descriptions of nature and introspective cha