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About The Book

A brilliant debut about a devoutly Orthodox Jewish man who discovers in middle age that he's not, in fact, Jewish, and embarks on a remarkable road trip to come to grips with his fate; it's Chaim Potok's The Chosen meets Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

When Mayer (née Marty) Belkin fled small-town Georgia for Brooklyn nearly thirty years ago, he thought he'd left his wasted youth behind. Now he's a Talmud scholar married into one of the greatest rabbinical families in the world - a dirt-poor country boy reinvented in the image of God.

But his mother's untimely death brings a shocking revelation: Mayer and his ne'er-do-well twin brother David aren't, in fact, Jewish. Traumatized and spiritually bereft, Mayer's only recourse is to convert to Judaism. But the earliest date he can get is a week from now. What are two estranged brothers to do in the interim?

So begins the Belkins' Rumspringa through America's Deep South with Mom's ashes in tow, plus two tagalongs: an insightful Instagram influencer named Charlayne Valentine and Popeye, a one-eyed dog. As the crew gets tangled up in a series of increasingly surreal adventures, Mayer grapples with a God who betrayed him and an emotionally withdrawn wife in Brooklyn who has yet to learn her husband is a counterfeit Jew.

About The Author

Reuven Fenton has been covering breaking news for the New York Post since 2007, and has earned national recognition for his exclusive reporting on myriad national stories. He is a graduate of Yeshiva University and Columbia University School of Journalism. Goyhood is his debut novel. 

Product Details

  • Publisher: Central Avenue (August 1, 2024)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781771683685

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Raves and Reviews

* A Zibby Summer Reads Selection

"A big-hearted novel about the enduring importance of faith and family . . . overall, a lot of fun." — Associated Press

"A unique story of identity and redemption that examines no less of an issue than the essence of Judaism." — The Jerusalem Post

"A sweet-natured, fast-paced picaresque, the narrative blends the fun of an impromptu, disaster-laced road trip across the American South with a more serious inquiry into American Jewish identity." — The Forward

"Fenton has a knack for the telling and visually arresting detail. His character sketches, too, are to be relished." — Atlanta Journal Constitution

"Nothing is authentic except the quest for the authentic and it's just such a quest that speeds-way-over-the-legal-limit through the pages of Reuven Fenton's remarkably funny and compassionate novel about Goys, Jews, and that most crisis-prone of contemporary identities: the male at middle-age." — Joshua Cohen, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Netanyahus

"Bravo, Reuven Fenton, for finding humor, heart, and meaning in a lost soul’s religious ups and downs. Are Mayer and his twin Jewish? Will happiness win over self-doubt? Goyhood is funny, stirring, smart and beautifully written. Such lovable characters! Such a profoundly delicious book!” — Elinor Lipman, author of Ms. Demeanor and The Inn at Lake Devine

"A surprising and compelling novel written with the authenticity of an insider, the evocative precision of a journalist, and the heart of an audacious romantic." — Jonathan Tropper, author of NYT Bestseller This is Where I Leave You

"A novel with plenty of spritz." — Kirkus Reviews

"With its intricate character development and evocative storytelling, Goyhood is a must-read for those who seek a story with depth, humor, and heart.” — The American Israelite

"Touching, funny, and at times Shteyngartian absurd, Goyhood is road trip of a novel that grapples with what it means to be a Jew, and what it means to be human.” — Bethany Ball, author of The Pessimists

"Reuven Fenton starts with an improbable premise, throws kerosene on it, and lets us watch the whole thing take off on a loopy, exuberant flight. There’s no way this novel should work but it does: it’s funny, sweet, touching and somehow—improbably—unexpectedly—moving all at the same time. From the first page I read with my fingers across my eyes waiting for this joyful, creative novel to crash; miraculously—Baruch Hashem!—it never does." — Mischa Berlinski, author of Fieldwork and Peacekeeping

"Goyhood is an impossibly charming, beautifully written, and exquisitely felt ode to family and what it really means to belong. A triumph.” — Boris Fishman, author of A Replacement Life

"An uproarious, soulful study of the way we reshape—and deepen—our vision of self, family, and faith." — David Hopen, author of The Orchard

"Rarely do you encounter a work of literary fiction, brilliant in its execution and engaging in its indelible characters, that is also a romp, a grand entertainment. Reuven Fenton's Goyhood is all of that—its language rich and precise, its people irresistible, and its marvelous story a literal joyride. This is a novel that thrills with its hilarity and humbles with its bigness of heart. You'll miss the world it contains as soon as you leave it—and will no doubt return again soon." — Steve Stern, author of The Village Idiot

"This brisk and witty picaresque mixes laughs, tears, and enlightenment in equal measure. It's a delightful ride, so grab a yarmulke and buckle up." — American Book Award Winner Mark Sarvas, author of Memento Park and Harry, Revised

"With its refreshingly quirky indie move sensibility, Goyhood is an entertaining and deftly-paced novel of the meaning of family and faith." — Adam Langer, author of Cyclorama and The Salinger Contract

"Combining razor-sharp wit, memorable characters, and seemingly effortless prose, Goyhood is a true delight." — Lynda Cohen Loigman, author of The Matchmaker's Gift and The Two-Family House

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