Ten books ...

about being Jewish

In the week that the Holocaust is being commemorated, here are ten of the best novels about the Jewish community.

Suite Francaise

By Irene Nemirovsky

Two remarkable novellas, left unfinished at the time of the French author's death, they portray the year between 1940 and 1941, when Paris was occupied by the Nazis. Although a convert to Catholicism, Nemirovsky was sent to Auschwitz, where she died in 1944. This work was only discovered by her daughter half a century after her death.

The Ghost Writer

By Philip Roth

The first appearance of Roth's rambunctious character Nathan Zuckerman. Here the young writer meets the revered novelist E I Lonoff, and begins to think his idol's mysterious houseguest might be Anne Frank.

In Paradise

By Peter Matthiessen

His thoughtful but witty last novel is set during a spiritual retreat to Auschwitz, in which a group of Holocaust tourists come face to face with reality, and - worse - themselves.

The Radetsky March

By Joseph Roth

The most famous novel by the Austrian Jewish writer, known as Red Roth for his leftist tendencies. Charting the decline of the Austro-Hungarian empire, it is a melancholy work, reflecting Roth's sense of rootlessness after the empire's collapse in 1918.

A Friend of Kafka

By Isaac Bashevis Singer

A collection of typically hard-hitting short stories. In the title story, Singer's narrator has befriended a man called Kohn, who recounts anecdotes from the time when he knew Kafka who, he claims, was impotent.

The Elected Member

By Bernice Rubens

Author of the phrase, "the best revenge is to live well", Cardiff-born Rubens was the first woman to win the Booker Prize, in 1969, with this strange novel - as many of hers were - about a man who sees silverfish wherever he goes. The source of his problem, of course, is his family.

Falling Out of Time

By David Grossman

This Hebrew novelist's most recent work, it is a heart-rending tale, based on the death of Grossman's son in the Israeli army. It deals with the grief of a husband and wife in a similar situation, but is about profound loss of any kind, especially to a political cause.

A Tale of Love and Darkness

By Amos Oz

An autobiographical novel by this outspoken proponent of a two-state solution, showing Oz's childhood, during which his mother committed suicide, and reeling back to his family's eastern european origins.

The Mandelbaum Gate

By Muriel Spark

Spark attended the Eichmann trial in 1961, a sensational event that inspired this, one of her least-read novels. Her heroine, a half-Jewish Catholic convert, must pass through the Mandelbaum Gate in Jerusalem if she is to meet up with her fiancee, but it is a dangerous act for someone like her.

Berl Make Tea

By Chaim Bermant

A central figure in the British Jewish scene, born in Eastern Europe and later brought up in Glasgow, his comic novel is about a gardener whose wife leaves him, and soon fears she will return. The Daily Telegraph called it "hapless, luckless, feckless, lovable, indestructible and stupendously funny".