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y separately published work icon Cafe Scheherazade single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 2001... 2001 Cafe Scheherazade
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

In Acland Street, St Kilda, there stands a cafe called Scheherazade and here we meet Avram and Masha, the proprietors of the cafe and hear the tales that they and their fellow storytellers have to offer. Of Moshe stalking the streets of Shanghai and Warsaw, of Laizer imprisoned in the Soviet city of Lvov and of Zalman marooned in Vina and Kobe. And we learn how Avram and Masha met and fell in love and came to create their Melbourne cafe together. (Libraries Australia)


Reading Australia

Reading Australia

This work has Reading Australia teaching resources.

Unit Suitable For

AC: Year 11 (English Unit 2)


belonging, connection to place, death, displacement, freedom, hardship, identity, loss, love, memory, powerlessness, rebellion, relationships, resilience, Separation, war

General Capabilities

Ethical understanding, Intercultural understanding, Literacy


  • Selected in December 2004 by the Australian public in an ABC poll as Australia's 56th favourite book.
  • Dedication: To Melbourne's first storytellers: the Wurundjeri and Bunurong people. And to all those who are still in search of a haven, a place they can call home.
  • Also won the 2002 National Association for Loss and Grief Award.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Text Publishing , 2003 .
      image of person or book cover 1733443251769770308.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 223p.
      Reprinted: 2003
      ISBN: 1877008095 (pbk.)
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Text Publishing , 2020 .
      image of person or book cover 4161079420609377575.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 232p.
      • Published 3rd March 2020
      ISBN: 9781922268587
      Series: y separately published work icon Text Classics Text Publishing (publisher), Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2012- Z1851461 2012 series - publisher novel 'Great books by great Australian storytellers.' (Text website.)

Other Formats

  • Braille.
  • Sound recording.

Works about this Work

Tales Wrenched from the Fire Bram Presser , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , March 2020;

— Review of Cafe Scheherazade Arnold Zable , 2001 single work novel

'In Acland Street, St Kilda, there is a small blue plaque beside the entrance to a clothing store, where once there stood a cafe called Scheherazade. I walk past it almost every day, this minor curiosity on an ever-changing thoroughfare. The plaque is easy to miss, and few people stop to read its inscription. But for those of us who remember the Babel-like din inside and schnitzels the size of a plate, that name –  Scheherazade – and the names Avram and Masha Zeleznikow draw us back to a tiny pocket of old Europe – lost Europe –  stitched into a seaside suburb in Melbourne at the farthest corner of the earth.' (Introduction)

“Storytelling Is an Ancient Art” : Stories, Maps, Migrants and Flâneurs in Arnold Zable’s Selected Texts Dagmara Drewnia , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: Anglica : An International Journal of English Studies , vol. 28 no. 3 2019; (p. 109-123)

'Nadine Fresco in her research on exiled Holocaust survivors uses the term diaspora des cendres (1981) to depict the status of Jewish migrants whose lives are forever marked by their tragic experience as well as a conviction that “the[ir] place of origins has gone up in ashes” (Hirsch 243). As a result, Jewish migrants and their children have frequently resorted to storytelling treated as a means of transferring their memories, postmemories and their condition of exile from the destroyed Eastern Europe into the New World. Since “[l]iterature of Australians of Polish-Jewish descent holds a special place in Australian culture” (Kwapisz Williams 125), the aim of this paper is to look at selected texts by one of the greatest Jewish-Australian storytellers of our time: Arnold Zable and analyse them according to the paradigm of an exiled flâneur whose life concentrates on wandering the world, sitting in a Melbourne café, invoking afterimages of the lost homeland as well as positioning one’s status on a map of contemporary Jewish migrants. The analyses of Zable’s Jewels and Ashes (1991) and Cafe Scheherazade (2001) would locate Zable as a memoirist as well as his fictional characters within the Australian community of migrants who are immersed in discussing their un/belonging and up/rootedness. The analysis also comprises discussions on mapping the past within the context of the new territory and the value of storytelling.'  (Publication abstract)

[Essay] : Café Scheherazade Angelo Loukakis , 2013 single work essay
— Appears in: Reading Australia 2013-;
Universal Truths Arnold Zable , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Author , September vol. 43 no. 3 2011; (p. 24-26)
'The more that writers honour the specific detail and unique characters of their story, the more their tale will resonate with many readers, says Arnold Zable.'
Australian Transnation Bill Ashcroft , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 71 no. 1 2011; (p. 18-40)
'The world is more mobile than it has ever been and in many different fields, most notably literary studies, it has led to a growing, and now well established interest in cultural and ethnic mobility, diaspora, transnational and cosmopolitan interactions. This rise in global mobility at the same time as state borders have become more hysterically protected, has interested post-colonial cultural critics for some time. The concept of the nation, or at least the nation state, has often been robustly critiqued because the post-colonial nation is marked by disappointment, instituted on the boundaries of the colonial state and doomed to continue its oppressive functions. Almost universally the nation is contrasted with "the transnational" and the global movement of peoples. It is held to be a fixed entity, a pole of attraction or repulsion orienting transnational relationships at state level. But if we distinguish the nation from the state we discover that mobility and border crossing are already features of the phenomenon we call nation.' (Author's introduction)
Untitled Donna Lee Brien , 2003 single work review
— Appears in: Dotlit : The Online Journal of Creative Writing , August vol. 4 no. 1 2003;

— Review of Cafe Scheherazade Arnold Zable , 2001 single work novel
[Untitled] Luisa Percopo , 2001 single work review
— Appears in: Meanjin : Fine Writing & Provocative Ideas , vol. 60 no. 2 2001; (p. 232-235)

— Review of Cafe Scheherazade Arnold Zable , 2001 single work novel
On My Bedside Table Tony Devitt , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: The West Australian , 5 December 2009; (p. 26)

— Review of The Vintner's Letters Peter McAra , 2007 single work novel ; Cafe Scheherazade Arnold Zable , 2001 single work novel ; The Shark Net : Memories and Murder Robert Drewe , 2000 single work autobiography
A Moment in Wonderland Ivor Indyk , 2001 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 24 February 2001; (p. 6)

— Review of Cafe Scheherazade Arnold Zable , 2001 single work novel
Tales of Dark and Light and Continental Cake Felicity Bloch , 2001 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 24 February 2001; (p. 8)

— Review of Cafe Scheherazade Arnold Zable , 2001 single work novel
Fragmented and Entwined: Migration Stories in Sibyl's Cave and Other Australian Fiction Catherine Padmore , 2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , no. 5 2006; (p. 25-38)

'As a writer, a reader and a migrant, I am interested in the gaps in migration narratives and in where the stories touch other stories. These features suggest the difficulty of capturing the enormity of the migrational shift in one narrative and offer a sense of the nuances contained within a single person's experiences of migration. In this article I explore some ways in which individual migration stories have similar fragmented structures and make dynamic connections to wider stories, using examples from my own and other Australian fiction.'

In addition to her own work, Sibyl's Cave, Padmore refers to Eva Sallis's Hiam (1998), Arnold Zable's Cafe Scheherazade (2001), Peter Lyssiotis and Nick Petroulias's 'New Troy' (2000) and Rosa Cappiello's Oh, Lucky Country [Paese Fortunato] (1984). 'Some of these works have fragmented structures and all contain intertextual links to other stories. The embedded stories in these texts are often not Australian in origin but have travelled to Australia from elsewhere, reflecting the migrational history that shapes one aspect of contemporary Australian identity.'

Q and A : Arnold Zable Olivia Hill Douglas , 2007 single work interview
— Appears in: The Age , 10 January 2007; (p. 3)
y separately published work icon Cafe Scheherazde by Arnold Zable Llewellyn Johns , Melbourne : Council of Adult Education , 2002 Z1483022 2002 single work criticism
The Company of Books Naomi Manuell , 2007-2008 single work autobiography
— Appears in: Meanjin , vol. 66-67 no. 4-1 2007-2008; (p. 68-72)
The Babel of New Beginnings Arnold Zable , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 25 October 2008; (p. 12-13)
Last amended 26 Mar 2020 10:50:05
  • St Kilda, Caulfield - St Kilda area, Melbourne - Inner South, Melbourne, Victoria,
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