Jonathan Ned Katz’s The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams is the biography of a queer Jewish woman whose life sheds light on the times.
The short, fascinating story of Eve Adams, born Chava Zloczewer, is presented in full, rich terms, showing how she was affected by the world, and was affecting in turn. Adams, who emigrated to the United States from Poland during the 1910s, lead a fierce, unapologetic life in a country that could not accept her as Jewish, as a lesbian, or as an anarchist. She was deported from the US, forced to make another life in Europe. She died at the hands of the Nazis.
Many others play into Adams’s story, including activists, bureaucrats, politicians, and artists. She moved alongside cultural movements and historical events; these are covered to contextualize her story, and they make evident the inseparable nature of human beings’ separate lives.
Adams’s own writing—especially her short story collection, Lesbian Love, which is attached to the biography as an appendix—is significant not only because it was an early representation of queer Jewish life, but because Adams’s story could not be complete without her telling some of it in own words. She is seen facing hardships relating to her lack of money, sexuality, and religion, as well as her radical leftist political beliefs, all of which contributed to her struggle with the US immigration department, where some members developed a vendetta against her. But Adams remained creative, brave, and exuberant. Though her death was tragic, her story, as told here, is not.
The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams is the biography of a queer Jewish artist who tried to live honestly in a world that resisted her.
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