Tandy Culpepper Talks with Judy Lev about her Groundbreaking New Memoir, Our Names Do Not Appear
Judy Lev (the pen name for Judy Labensohn) is an American-Israeli writer whose new memoir — Our Names Do Not Appear — breaks new ground for the genre. One book critic referred to it as a “hybrid memoir.” After reading it, I must opine that hybrid is an accurate description for the book. Judy mixes creative nonfiction with elements of fiction, and she does so with a deft hand. The story mines memories from a traumatic childhood event that the author carries with her for many years until she faces the same sort of dilemma after becoming a young adult starting her own family. Lev/Lebensohn grew up in Shaker Heights, a small municipality just outside of Cleveland, Ohio. When she was 21 — in 1967 — she moved to Israel for what she thought would be a year. All these years later, she’s still there. Judy and I talk about the childhood that prompted her to write this book, as well as how she chose to structure her memoir which breaks conventions to craft something heretofore little seen in the genre. We also discuss the current turbulent political climate and how it mirrors what is transpiring in the United States and certain other nations around the globe.