At the Passover seder next Wednesday evening, our children will recite the traditional question, “How is this night different from all other nights?” But the adults at the table are the ones who appreciate how this night really is different — not only from the rest of the year, but from the Passover seders of the past. As I started writing my third novel about Jewish spies during the Civil War, I began to wonder if American Jews had ever sat down at a seder where every part of the meal was served by slaves. As I discovered in my research, they did.
Dara Horn wrote an exuberant scene in her stunning debut novel, "In the Image," upon returning to her dreary garret flat during a year abroad in 1999. "I'd been to this dismal British market in which an entire aisle was devoted to butter and fats," the ebullient Horn, 25, said animatedly. "I recall a product called 'beef drippings.' The produce was wilting. All the milk was expired yesterday.Â I was very homesick."