Nonfiction by Joshua Furst

Articles for the Jewish Daily Forward by Joshua Furst:

Wallace Shawn Knows Exactly Who His Audience Is: You.

How ‘Mr. Robot’ Captured Life in Our Anxious Society.

This is The Way We Need To Live in Trump’s America.

Finding Beauty in ‘Indecent’ — a 110-Year-Old Play Set in Jewish Brothel.

Geeking Out on Primo Levi — and Elena Ferrante — With a Master Translator.

When Art Poses a Challenge to the Orthodox.

Jonathan Franzen's Moral Hazard.

Alexandrian Summer: By Yitzhak Gormezano Goren.

Why I'm Protesting PEN's Award For Charlie Hebdo.

Why David Greenspan Is Easy To Admire But Hard To Like.

Not Your Bubbe's Brooklyn.

What’s Black and White and Jewish All Over?

Why Wisconsin Was a Terrible State To Grow Up Jewish.

Few Bright Spots for Jewish Books in 2014.

Nazi Hunter Meets Nazi Architect.

Free To Be You and Me and Jonathan Lethem.

Utopian Dream of Israel Dies in 'Salt of the Earth.'

In ‘10:04,’ Ben Lerner Sings a Song of Himself.

Slouching Through Catalonia, One Jewish Site at a Time.

The Unbearable Sadness of Being Robin Williams.

'Seinfeld' Revolutionized Pop Culture 25 Years Ago — and That's a Bad Thing.

An Empty Bob Dylan Biography.

Michael Shannon Makes Eugene Ionesco's Disorienting 'The Killer' Memorable.

Still Waiting for Godot.

When Diane Arbus Met a Giant in Her Field.

Why Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway' Is a Bright Shining Lie.

Marlo Thomas Made Me the Man I Am Today.

A Coupla Jewish Writers Talk Theater, Drinking and Escaping the Midwest.

Love Doomed in the Havana Harbor.

Public Accusation Against Woody Allen Has Ugly Whiff of a Lynch Mob.

A Short History of Jews and Obscenity.

Chasing the Ghost of Norman Mailer.

In Defense of Amiri Baraka.

Why 2013 Was the Year Fiction Got Political Again.

Al Goldstein Is Dead — and Our Culture Is a Little Poorer.

The Most Graphic War Story Ever Told.

How a Schlumpy Kid Named Art Spiegelman Changed Pop Culture.

The Exile and Resurrection of Marc Chagall.

Rachel Kushner's 'The Flamethrowers' Arrives With a Bang.

The Return of Richard Foreman, Rabbi of New York's Downtown Theater Scene.

Why Susan Steinberg May Be the Best Jewish Writer You've Never Read.

How David Mamet Abandoned His Art.

The World That Mariam Said Loved.

Holocaust Memoir Fraud Inspires Novel.

A Very French Rhinoceros.

Bringing Ibsen Up to Date.

Cultural Critic or Complainer-in-Chief?

Etgar Keret Copes With Newfound Fame.

Jumping From Nobel Page to American Stage.

‘Relatively Speaking’ Boasts Big Names, Little Else.

George Orwell Would Be Crying Tears of Joy.

Bad Politics Meets Bad Art in 'Pro-Israel' Exhibit.

Still Fighting the Good Fight.

With Too Much Information, the Truth Is Sometimes Hard To Watch.

It’s a Bug’s Life.

Earthbound Angels.

The Problem With Liberals.

Anti-Semitism 101.

Randy Cohen on Mel Gibson, 'The Gift That Keeps on Giving.'

Ways To Case the Literati.

Al Pacino’s Pain.

The Best Intentions: The Culture Project's 'Blueprint for Accountablity.'

A Climb, a Crime and a Debut Novel.

Muffled Singer.


"Sleeps a Man."

November 2017.

Outside the Edifício Copan sleeps a man.

On the steps of a church across from Praça Princesa Isabel, sleeps a man.

Continue reading on Arts Everywhere. (Archive.)


"The Other Protest."

By Gordon Haber and Joshua Furst.

Killing The Buddha.

August 2011.

Not all the marches in Israel this month ignored the occupation. It was almost 2 p.m. on July 15th and there was an atmosphere of tense expectation at the Jaffa Gate, with perhaps a thousand people gathered in the narrow plaza. The sun was blistering and the flagstones were radiating heat. Within the milling scrum, Israeli hippies and hipsters, with a sprinkling of grizzled, ex-kibbutznik-types and gentle-looking professors with beards, jockeyed for position.

Continue reading at (Archive.)


"Product Displacement: A Manifesto."

September 2010.

Mischief and Mayhem.

For decades now—since I was ten, and through a series of improbable happenstances, found myself cast as the Boy in a college production of Waiting for Godot—I’ve been a believer in the possibilities, the value, the uses of art. Catharsis and contemplation. Emotional, existential recognition. The transformations and radicalizations, philosophical, political, all that. Our shared humanity, blah, blah, blah.

Continue reading. (Archive.)


"Jonathan Franzen's Jewish Riddle."

November 2010.

Mischief and Mayhem.

I’m not here to coronate. Jonathan Franzen has written another Franzen-ish book and it’s everything you’d assume it would be: a multi-generational morality tale playing heavily on the big topics that have consumed so many of the past decade’s news cycles; a realist story told from multiple points of view with just enough stylish flourish to elevate its prose above that of all those other flatly realist stories clogging the bookstore shelves week after week; a wry yet precisely wrought examination of how the American upper-middle class experiences our present world. Freedom, the omnipresent new novel of which I speak, is, on the evidence, exactly the book Franzen set out to write.

Continue reading. (Archive.)


Joshua Furst interviews Geoff Dyer.

April 2011.

The Rumpus.

Read the interview at (Archive.)


Joshua Furst interviews Jonathan Ames.

July 2009.

The Rumpus.

Read the interview at (Archive.)


"Down in the Dumpster."

June 2009.

The Rumpus.

Read the article at (Archive.)


"The Minute Fluctuations."

February 2009.

The Rumpus.

John Updike has held an unreasonably large place in my conception of myself as a writer. He, more than any other writer in the pantheon, stood for everything I opposed in fiction. This had little to do with his celebrated and reviled misogyny or his endless fascination with himself.

Continue reading at (Archive.)


"A Year in Reading: Joshua Furst."

The Millions.

December 2008.

Read the article at (Archive.)


"The Noble Beast: Joshua Furst on the courage of Norman Mailer."

PEN America.

December 2007.

One of Norman Mailer’s great subjects—as the headline of his New York Times obituary so hostilely noted—was his ego. His ego and its discontents. This led, naturally, to an inconsistency in the work he produced—a sometimes embarrassing grandiosity, a sense that he was in love with his public platform and testing the limits of what it would withstand—that left him open to legions of jeers, scoffs and dismissive chuckles. What people often forget about him, though, is that despite—or maybe because of—his misses, when he did hit his punches landed with great force.

Continue reading at PEN America's blog. (Archive.)


"A Font of Inspiration."

December 2007.


Read the article at (Archive.)


"Requiem For a Regular."

Mr Belle'rs Neighborhood.

July 2007.

We called him Broadway Johnny, and as far as I know, none of us ever learned his last name.

Continue reading at (Archive.)