I am examining why sometimes their haredi characters lack realism.The fact that these authors do not come from the specific subgroup they often write about would not be an insurmountable obstacle, so long as they didn't rely on negative stereotypes. The traditional Orthodox characters in their novels tend to be hypocrites.
For the first time, we have books that capture the complexity of the Orthodox world, and do it well. Tova Reich's 1995 story "The Lost Girl" (published originally in Harper's), pitted a girl who was lost on a field trip against a haredi school that was essentially indifferent to her.I'm not advocating any sort of litmus test for Jewish fiction.I object to these novels on purely literary grounds: I find much of the contemporary fiction dealing with Orthodox Jews to be too predictable. At the same time, we have relied for too long on people disaffected with the Orthodox world to produce an "Orthodox literature" that verges on caricature.In "As You Like It," there is a wonderful banished Duke who is a real saint.There are also characters who are corrupt or cynical, and then there are your basic strugglers and yearners.Why is the best writing advice to "write what you know"?