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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 186

Leslie Epstein 1938–

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American novelist, short story writer, and essayist.

Epstein is a promising new writer whose fiction ranges from the farcical Russian spy spoof P. D. Kimerakov (1975) to the historical novel King of the Jews (1979). This latter, based on the Jewish experiences within the Polish ghetto of Lodz during World War II, examines the moral dilemma faced by the leader of the doomed population in his efforts to deal with the Nazi terror. Critics are divided in their estimation of the novel's place in Holocaust literature. While some critics have expressed admiration for Epstein's willingness to write about such a painful subject, others feel that his persistent use of satire creates an impression that he is trivializing the horrors of that time. Epstein has also drawn strong disapproval for failing to censure the Germans.

Epstein's recent novel, Regina (1982), deals with the spiritual crisis of a middle-aged Jewish woman. Regina resolves to free herself from those things and people that have restricted her growth in the past. In doing so, she finds herself and the solution to many of her problems.

(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 73-76.)

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