by Margot Kaminski

Ethel: The Fictional Autobiography

A “fictional autobiography” makes about as much sense as a “universalized exception.” Yet in Ethel: The Fictional Autobiography (Syracuse University Press, $24.95), Tema Nason’s first novel, both phrases apply. Nason crafts a fictional first person narrative of the last months of the life of Ethel Rosenberg, executed in 1953 alongside her husband Julius for allegedly passing the secret of the atomic bomb to the Soviets. Concerned less with Ethel’s actual innocence or guilt than with hearing her personal voice, this novel finds its power in fleshing out a historical figure who is often reduced to a political figurehead.

Continue reading this article…

Already a subscriber? Log in above to keep reading. Or subscribe now for immediate access to the complete digital and print editions, plus exclusive online access to Lilith's back issues.