God’s Ear (1989)


“Do your soul the favor of laughing and crying your own way from one cover to the other of God’s Ear.”
Ron Grossman – Chicago Tribune

“Rhoda Lerman’s brilliant fifth novel, God’s Ear, is by turns playful and prayerful, ironic and deadly serious.  Although her idioms and inflections are hauntingly and soothingly familiar, (which is) the common linguistic property of generations of Jewish fabulists…Lerman speaks in her own vatic voice.”  “Hers is a unique voice…wildly funny, achingly spiritual, profoundly Jewish and feminist at the same time.  When Rhoda Lerman’s wise words enter God’s willing ear, the holy connection crackles.”
Brett Singer – New York Times Book Review

“Marvelously funny”, “an irresistible story”, “God’s Ear captures the special culture of the Jews, their subtleties of feeling, their styles of thought and their language of exceptional charm.  Rhoda Lerman, author of Call Me Isthar, as well as other outstanding novels, is a superb storyteller, illustrating a deep regard for the dignity of the Jewish people.”
–Barbara A. Guy – South Bend Tribune

“Rabbi Fetner sets a new standard in parental guilt trips.”
–Donna Levin, San Francisco Chronicle

 “Also noteworthy is her ability, as a woman writer, to present a male as her central character.  This is said to be one of the most difficult feats for a novelist, as she enters into the inner workings of her protagonist’s mind.”
–Bernice Green – Cleveland Jewish News

 “When (Lerman) takes on Lillywhite’s crisis, and Yussel’s growing understanding of it, she strikes out on an important new direction.  In God’s Ear, Lerman raises provocative questions and gives the reader a good ride along the way.”
–Kathryn Ruth Bloom – Hadassah Magazine

 “…the novel (has a) comic sprit and easy familiarity with Jewish ideas.  Seldom have wisecracks and authenticity been so wedded in a Jewish-American novel.  God’s Ear laughs its way to religious epiphany that is rare indeed in the contemporary Jewish-American novel.”
–Sanford Pinsker – Philadelphia Inquirer

 “Rhoda Lerman is a writer of compelling talent who steers away from obscurities, making the narrative readable.  She can be wildly funny and solemn too.”
–Jaiboy Joseph – Madras (India) Express

 “Very few books have brought tears to my eyes;  God’s Ear is one of them.  Tears of pain and joy and relief; a release of recognition.”
–Tony Seton – Monterey Peninsula-Herald

“To describe God’s Ear as a comedy of the absurd doesn’t quite capture the wit and wisdom to be found in this most unusual novel.   The truth of the matter is that the book has a quality of uniqueness which defies labeling and pigeon-holing.  Rhoda Lerman is an accomplished author.  The story is inventive and bizarre.  The characters are exceptional and extraordinary.  The experiences are described with humor and vitality.”
–Morton Teicher – Jewish News

God’s Ear, Rhoda Lerman’s wry, witty new novel, something between modern farce and timeless parable, tells Yussel’s bizarre story with tongue-in-cheek humor and yet compassion,  for one of the most unusual books of the season.  Ms. Lerman offers much humor here.  There are distinct echoes of Isaac Bashevis Singer.  But Ms. Lerman’s basic tone, like his, is a deeply serious one, exploring the mysterious relationship between God and man.”
–Barbara Hodge Hall – The Annistan Star

“Half the fun in this book are the unexpected turns of plot and character.  Suffice it to say that humor, Jewish learning, pathos and astuteness will all be yours for reading it.  Like Singer, Roth, Malamud and in his day, Sholem Aleichem, Lerman realizes how close we all are to madness.  Like them, she knows how to find the humor in it.”
–Barbara Trainin Blank – Na’Amat Woman

 God’s Ear is rich in meaning—about the demands of faith, the responsibility human beings have to each other and the requirements of spiritual growth.  Lerman nicely fits together all the pieces of her story; it works on the psychological, religious and narrative levels, and it’s tied up cleverly at the end.  When ideas and style mesh so well, one can only applaud the author.”
–Sara Brzyowsky – The Jewish Week

 “Called a ‘novelist of formidable gifts’ by a New York Times reviewer, Rhoda Lerman certainly lives up to that reputation in God’s Ear, her fifth novel.  Praising this dark comedy is, however, much easier than describing it.  The plot (is) sprawling and often hilarious.  The novel is rich in humor and humanity.  The writer raises shrewd, difficult questions about the dissonance in our lives between our deepest yearnings and our fears about being vulnerable and hurt.  Echoes of God’s Ear may linger in the mind long after the book is read.”
–Anne G. Faigen – The Pittsburgh Press

 “Mystical, deeply meaningful and often funny dialogue…”
–Helen Lorber

“Rhoda Lerman’s novel God’s Ear, has been called a ‘cosmic comedy’.  She has established herself as one of the best novelists in the country.  Her first novel, Call Me Ishtar, is considered to be America’s first contemporary feminist novel.”
–Ed Kiegle – The Reporter

“Lerman has a sharp, lyrical, and almost uncanny ear for the Jewish absurd.”
–Susan Shapiro – Newsday

“You have company coming, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, and E. L. Doctorow.  Her name is Rhoda Lerman, and God’s Ear is her fifth book.  She knows her Jews, she knows her Southwest, and she spins one terrific yarn out of the two strands.  If Hollywood isn’t already leaving messages on Miss Lerman’s answering machine, it will, and soon.  Hers could be the new Ten Commandments for the intelligentsia, or perhaps a new Fiddler on the Roof.  Or it could turn out to be something slow-moving and gossamer for Masterpiece Theater.  Miss Lerman is not only the next great American Jewish writer.  She also writes about the most recent generation of American Jews.

“Miss Lerman’s talent goes beyond an exquisite dissection of shifting relationships among a handful of critical characters.  Nor is she content with tracking down yet another selection of those heartwarming, soul-lifting fables that originate somewhere near the Carpathian mountains, or Poland, or Lithuania.  She fabricates a believable rabbinical dynasty complete with its own peculiar traditions, that flowers in America.  She also fabricates its foil; a counter-rabbi and his pseudo-tradition.  It would be astonishing if there were such a dynasty, yet Miss Lerman’s Fetners do sound hauntingly familiar, as if they might have lived next door to those rabbis we do know.”
–Charles Fenyvesi – Washington Times

God’s Ear is an incisive, provocative, zany and moving novel by Rhoda Lerman.  The novel is infused with Jewish learning, Hasidic lore and Jewish humor.  The dialogue, like the humor, is terse, poignant, funny and painful because it cuts through human foibles to the core of who we are.  The novel is rich in character deftly conveyed in the minimal brush strokes of sketches.  It is sparked by surprising detail.   God’s Ear deserves to be read and heard.  It is both witty and wise.”
–Suzi Asher – Pasatiempo