making the rounds

This past week I went to a meeting to hear people from the various arts administrations tell writers how to apply for assistance, called a grant but more like a lottery. I think TWUC - The Writers' Union of Canada - helped set it up,  because there was a (tiny) regional (Ontario)  meeting  before the class. I hadn't met any of the (young) writers attending but one face looked familiar, closer to my age - not that close!  I asked him his name and told him mine and yes, we were old-timers and had attended past AGMs.  So we sat together to listen to the arts pundits. I asked him about his writing: science fiction/fantasy. Oh yeah.  Good conversation.  

Well, he just happened to have copies of a recent (2016) book with him so I bought it and I've read it and enjoyed it. It's a collection of stories/events about a Jewish wizard who got too curious, learning more than he should have about forbidden knowledge and thus obligated to wander the world using his ill-gotten powers to do good deeds (mitzvoth), his only reward being room and board as return for doing whatever he is asked to do - whatever, and I mean whatever.  His only companion is his critical outspoken (by inner communication) horse, Melech. 

The stories are weird and funny and profound and unexpected, and very Jewish.  I'm from Winnipeg so I know a lot but not enough.  My only criticism would be that the book needs a glossary to tell me the meanings of the words I don't know and to explain the rituals I am not familiar with. I didn't mind, though. I loved the stories and the character, Eliezer-ben-Avraham. My dearest friend of longest standing  - still alive - lives in Winnipeg and she is Jewish. I'm going to send this book to her because I think she will enjoy it and I am going to thank my colleague for writing it.  

His name is Allan Weiss and he is a Jewish wizard!.t The book is titled Making the Rounds [2016, Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, Calgary].