Nayman, Shira 1960-
Nayman, Shira 1960-
Born 1960, in South Africa; married; children: two. Education: Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, B.Sc. (honors); Columbia University, master's degree; Rutgers University, doctorate; also attended Hebrew University in Jerusalem and completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in psychology at New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center, Westchester, NY.
Writer and psychologist. Has taught in the psychology department at Rutgers University, NJ, and in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, New York, NY. Also worked as a psychologist and a marketing consultant.
Australia Council for the Arts Literature Board grants (two).
Awake in the Dark: Stories, Scribner (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor of fiction and nonfiction to periodicals, including the Atlantic Monthly, Georgia Review, New England Review, Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, Columbia, and Boulevard.
In her first book, Awake in the Dark: Stories, Shira Nayman draws on her own Jewish background, on growing up in a Jewish section of Melbourne, Australia, and her own clinical practice as a psychologist to write about the children of Holocaust survivors and their parents' secrets. For example, in the opening story, "The House on Kronenstrasse," Nayman relates the story of Christiane, a New Yorker who returns to Heidelberg, Germany, after her mother's death and rents her family's old home. Once there, Christiane learns of her mother's true identity and that she is actually the daughter of a Nazi soldier killed in the war, thus altering the fundamental facts and basis of her life. In the novella "Dark Urgings of the Blood," the author writes of the relationship between a psychiatrist, Deborah, and her patient Dvorah, an Orthodox Jew who is institutionalized for killing her infant son. As Deborah treats her patient, she becomes disturbed by the parallels between Dvorah's story and her own history, leading Deborah to explore a dark, suppressed side of her own life.
In an article in the Jewish Week, Sandee Brawarsky called Awake in the Dark "a work of quiet power, with haunting twists and feelings that linger." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that Nayman's "edifying lessons will appeal to readers looking for insight on the tortured choices imposed by Nazism." Molly Abramowitz, writing in the Library Journal, commented: "There's breathtaking storytelling here, replete with psychological detail and stunning clarity." A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that the author "constructs powerful emotional journeys for her characters."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Jewish Week, December 1, 2006, Sandee Brawarsky, "A Long Night's Journey into Day," profile of author.
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2006, review of Awake in the Dark: Stories, p. 597.
Library Journal, August 1, 2006, Molly Abramowitz, review of Awake in the Dark, p. 78.
More, October, 2006, "Interview with Shira Nayman."
New York Times, October 10, 2006, Dinitia Smith, "Houses and Souls, Haunted by Holocaust Ghosts," article about author and Awake in the Dark, p. E3.
Publishers Weekly, May 8, 2006, review of Awake in the Dark, p. 42.
Shira Nayman Home Page,http://www.shiranayman.com (January 23, 2007).