In the months following 9/11, while images of the collapsing towers haunted the media, Kenneth Sherman began a course of reading, seeking out authors who believed that literature could address the most extreme circumstances. Sherman contemplates Holocaust survivor Primo Levi, writing under crushing depression; Anne Frank, retaining sanity by diary writing; authors who, though critically ill, persisted in their quest for the right word. The 'furies' in Sherman's title belong to history and what they bring is not only destruction, but the opportunity to transform ourselves.
'The book is, in part, a response to 9/11, but it is much more. It is proof that one can read deeply in the 21st century. That there can be continuity within contemporary life with deep subject matter. That our literary inheritance offers more than gossip, subjective gotcha reviews, and despair.... This book shows that however much criticism in general may suck, its supposed decline is not yet fatal. It is a book that ought to tempt every reader with literary aspirations, everywhere.'
'Like such poets as Derek Walcott and Seamus Heaney, Sherman is a marvelous literary essayist.'
'Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Canadian poet and literary critic Kenneth Sherman asked himself what the response of literature to such traumatizing events should be. For guidance, he turned to writers who had addressed the most horrific experiences of the 20th century, including the Holocaust and the Soviet Gulag. In this collection of essays, Sherman analyzes with care and precision some of the best such writers, including both well- and lesser-known figures.'
'Tragedy brings most to grief; it brought Kenneth Sherman to study. What the Furies Bring is a collection of essays on his musings on the world, reflecting on Judaism, poetry, other religions, terrorism, the works of Anne Frank, and so much more. His thoughts bring many ideas to his readers, to help them reevaluate how they look at the world themselves. What the Furies Bring is a choice pick for any collection of scholarly philosophy.'
'Although it's hardly light holiday reading, Kenneth Sherman's essay collection What the Furies Bring is a powerful literary engagement with our post-9/11 world.'
'For a book on how the art of writing helps one remain sane, even amid the appalling conditions of Nazism and Stalinism, one should pick up poet Kenneth Sherman's book of essays, What the Furies Bring, published here in Canada by The Porcupine's Quill. Sherman is not only a crystal-clear writer, but also a great reader, and the quotes he offers from the writings of great modern European Jewish, Russian and Polish poets are tonic for the reader who senses that he/she is missing out by never picking up a book of poetry.'
'These all-encompassing essays ferry us across the Atlantic, and move gracefully between Old and New Worlds. Perhaps Sherman's grandfather's underworld connections prepared the poet-essayist for his later encounters with so many obscure literary figures that experienced the Holocaust. Sherman's strong humanistic groundwork firmly roots his pine tree, which bears witness to the horrors of the past century and whispers furiously in redemptive tones that transcend the abyss.'