When I was in college one of my requirements was Modern American Writers. Not a big fan of dead white American men, I signed up anticipating twelve weeks of Hemingway, Steinbeck, and maybe Miller if somebody got a little crazy.
Boy, was I wrong. The first day of class I walked in and there was this little man who looked for all the world like a schnauzer. He introduced himself as the Assistant Dean of the English Department, congratulated us for taking his class in the fall because that was Jewish Party Season (his words) meaning a few classes would be canceled, and then he handed out the book list. Potok, Henry Roth, Philip Roth. I was in heaven. Raised in a WASPy household and having attended a Catholic I knew nothing about Judism. Call It Sleep was a watershed experience for me. I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on including (or should I say especially) science fiction and fantasy, but that was by far the most alien story I had read to that point and I loved it!
So when I needed a Dean of English for Alex to encounter, I did my best to honor my Modern American Writers professor right down to his vaguely foreign accent. I hope I succeeded.
Waiting For a Girl Like You available here.