Among the subplots Joshua Cohen cut from Witz:

a Spinoza section, set in seventeenth century Netherlands; a section written entirely in transliterated Yiddish; a section written entirely in Hebrew (untransliterated, which is to say with Hebrew characters); a section set in (the nonexistent Jewish) Heaven, which I severed to form my previous novel, A Heaven of Others; at least three other recipes, two scenes set at the White House, two in “Palestein,” and numerous recurring conversations between trees or people named for trees (this was never quite clear: Apfelbaum, Birnbaum, etc., straight through to Zitronenbaum), of whom only a Feigenbaum remains.

As for when I knew the book was finished: I’ll only know when my father finishes reading it.