Elman's trilogy, The 28th Day of Elul, (1967) Lilo's Diary, (1968) and The Reckoning (1969) is set during the Holocaust, specifically during the first six months of 1944 in the fictional Hungarian town of Clig, where the collapse of the Yagodah family is dramatized. Each novel is narrated by a different character, and each provides a different lens on the same events. In his review of "The 28th Day of Elul," Elie Wiesel said, "Richard M. Elman was barely 10 when the nightmare ended in Europe. Yet he evokes some of its living, fragmentary images as though his voice came from within." You may listen to Richard Elman read from these novels in an interview by Dale Minor broadcast on WBAI 16 Oct. 1969, here: "The Reckoning." The historian Raul Hillberg's work on "The Destruction of the European Jews" influenced Elman's thinking about the Holocaust, and Elman's interview of Raul Hillberg broadcast on WBAI 13 January 1963, is also provided here.
The idea for an An Education In Blood (1971) came from the David Lamson murder case of the 1930's which Elman heard about in 1956 when he was a student of Ivor Winter's at Stanford University. Winters had been Lamson's friend when he had been convicted of killing his wife and had served time on death row, though he was eventually freed after two more trials and hung juries. "I did not wish to sit in judgement of Lamson," Elman wrote, "and whether he killed or did not kill his wife. I was interested in the combination of literary interests and murderous rage." (See Elman's autobiographyical essay here from Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series, OE © 1986 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, Inc. Elman also write about Lamson in his collection of essays: Namedropping: Mostly Literary Memoirs.
Fredi & Shirl & the Kids: The autobiography in fables of Richard M. Elman (1972) is, as it says on the title page, "A Novel by Richard Elman." In his essay for Contemporary Authors Elman wrote, "Novels only work for me when I find myself understanding my subject better through writing about it. I enjoy the experience of changing my mind in the act of writing. This was preeminently the case with Fredi & Shirl & the Kids. It was initially a long lugubrious work of "angst" and ambivalence about family life. During the process of revision I became so clear about what I was saying that I dropped all the ambivalence as essentially affectation."
Crossing Over & Other Tales (1973) is a book of twenty short stories which vary in tone. Some stories are lyric and others sardonic. Falling in love and the pain of parting, childhood, marriage, and human absurdity are some of its concerns.
Taxi Driver (1976), a novelization based upon the original screenplay by Paul Schrader was recently reissued in France (2013) translated by Claro (www.inculte.fr) and its slick book jacket designed by Yann Legendre is reproduced here.
Little Lives (1978) is set in Hudson Falls, New York, and was "modelled in a mild way on John Aubrey's seventeenth century classic, Brief Lives, Elman said in his essay in Contemporary Authors. Elman chose to publish it under the pseudonym, John Howland Spyker who is also the "irascible, amused, tender, even horny" narrator of these little lives, and "to some he was the epitome of my friend William Bronk," who lived in upstate New York.
In 1978 and 79 Elman traveled to Nicaragua on assignment for GEO Magazine, (see "Nicaragua: A People Aflame") His experience there covering the revolution to overthrow the Somoza Regime resulted in a work of non-fiction, Cocktails At Somoza's(1981) and colored his imagination for more than a decade, generating a book of poems, In-Chontales, two comic novels, The Breadfruit Lotteries (1980), The Menu Cypher (1982), as well as a book of short stories, Disco Frito (1988).
Elman called Tar Beach (1991) a "'Jewish 'Ulysses,'" in an interview by Marjorie Kaufman. "Just as James Joyce dramatized one day in Dublin in 1914, Mr. Elman portrays one day in the life of a boy on the roof of a synagogue in Brooklyn in 1947. ...Ideally," Mr. Elman said, "I wish I could get up and sing 'Tar Beach' as one long recitative, like a bar-mitzvah boy's chanting of the Torah." (http://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/16/nyregion/a-pungent-comic-novel-emerges...