Rhoda Lerman, American novelist, died at 79

  Dead Famous

Rhoda Carol Sniderman was born in Far Rockaway, Queens, on January 18, 1936 and died on August 30, 2015 at her home in Port Crane, N.Y from thyroid cancer, she was an American novelist.

Her first novel, “Call Me Ishtar” (1973), a lampoon of the values of a suburban patriarchal culture, reincarnates the Near Eastern deity of the title, a goddess of love, war and fertility, as a housewife in upstate New York.

Her second, “The Girl That He Marries” (1976), was a fierce, if more straightforward, satire about a romance between a young Jewish man, an aspiring politician – a caricature immensely satisfying, as one reviewer wrote, “for those of us who’ve been waiting around for Alexander Portnoy to get his” – and the young Gentile woman who sets her cap for him.

But in other books, she veered from social satire to pursue other interests.

In “Eleanor” (1979), she imagined what it was like to be Eleanor Roosevelt. In “The Book of the Night” (1984), she created a dizzying fantastical allegory set in the 10th and 20th centuries with a narrator that is sometimes female, sometimes male and sometimes a cow.

And “God’s Ear” (1989), is a serious comedy about faith, money and fathers and sons, concerning an Orthodox Jew, a successful insurance man in the Far Rockaway neighborhood of New York City, and his journey – literal, spiritual, fantastical – to a remote town in Colorado.

“Hers is a unique voice – wildly funny, achingly spiritual, profoundly Jewish and feminist at the same time,” the novelist Brett Singer wrote about Ms. Lerman in a review of “God’s Ear” in The New York Times Book Review.

American novelist Rhoda Lerman died at 79