Magazine names alum’s book one of year’s best

By Candice Navi

Elisa Albert’s ’96 debut novel, “The Book of Dahlia,” was named the second best fiction book of 2008 in Entertainment Weekly’s December issue.

“What begins as a darkly funny novel develops quickly into a genuine tragedy, though it’s unlike any you’ve read before,” Entertainment Weekly wrote.

She has also written a collection of short stories called “How This Night is Different,” which was first published in 2006.

“The Book of Dahlia” focuses on 29 year-old Dahlia Finger who is witty and unemployed. Dahlia is diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor.

“She lives in a milieu that I feel I can speak of with some authority — a dysfunctional, affluent Jewish family in southern California, a young adulthood in Brooklyn, and so on — but my own life is thankfully pretty different from Dahlia’s,” Albert said.

Aside from writing, Albert is a founding editor of “Jewcy,” a magazine and website with daily news and commentary with a Jewish perspective.

Albert has been an assistant creative writing professor at Columbia University since 2006. She is editing an anthology of original essays by numerous literary authors about sibling relationships along with a new novel and essays of her own. Other works by Albert have been published in journals and anthologies such as Post Road, Washington Square, Nextbook and The Modern Jewish Girl’s Guide to Guilt.