Dara Horn

Cindy Seip

Dara Horn’s books include Eternal Life: A Novel, A Guide for the Perplexed: A Novel, and All Other Nights: A Novel. A prolific contributor to various publications, she realized that when outlets asked her to write on subjects related to Jewish culture, the assignments were often in response to deadly antisemitic attacks. Time and again, she was asked to write about dead Jews, never about living ones. In People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present (W. W. Norton & Company), Horn explores how Jewish history is used to comfort the living. Drawing upon her travels, research, and family life, she reflects on subjects as far-flung as the international veneration of Anne Frank, the mythology around Jewish family names and Ellis Island, and the blockbuster traveling exhibition “Auschwitz.” In this collection of essays, she asks why there might be so much fascination with Jewish deaths and so little respect for Jewish lives in the present. Mark Oppenheimer, author of Squirrel Hill: The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Neighborhood, celebrated the book, noting that “‘to see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle,’ George Orwell told us. Dara Horn has engaged that struggle, and in People Love Dead Jews, she explains why so many prefer the mythologized, dead Jewish victim to the living Jew next door.”