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What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank


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A FRANK O'CONNOR AWARD-winning, simply stunning short-story collection by one of America's most critically acclaimed young writers.

About the Author

Nathan Englander is the author of the internationally bestselling story collection For the Relief of Unbearable Urges and the novel The Ministry of Special Cases. Translated into more than a dozen languages, Englander was selected as one of '20 Writers for the 21st Century' by The New Yorker. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a PEN/Malamud Award, the Bard Fiction Prize and the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. He lives in Manhattan.


It's a tribute to Englander's verve and scope that the eight stories in his new collection, although clearly the product of one mind with a particular set of interests (Israel; American Jewry and suburbia; writing and reading; sex, survival, and the long shadow of the Shoah) never cover the same territory. Each is particular, deeply felt, and capable of pressing any number of buttons. The title story, which features a reunion of old friends, a lot of marijuana, and a series of collisions between Israel and America and Orthodoxy and laxity, starts out funny and gets funnier, until suddenly it's not a bit funny. "Sister Hills" traces an Israeli settlement from its violent founding to its bedroom community transformation and reads like a myth, simple, stark, and, like many a myth, ultimately horrifying. And as you spend a few days with the beleaguered director of "Camp Sundown," a vacation camp for elderly Jews, you'll find, as he does, that things you think you're sure about-guilt, justice, silence, and the morality of revenge-start to get fuzzy. What we talk about when we talk about Englander's collection turns out to be survival and the difficult-sometimes awful, sometimes touching-choices people make, and Englander (For the Relief of Unbearable Urges), brings a tremendous range and capacity to surprise to his chosen topic. Agent: Nicole Aragi, Aragi Agency. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kaufman Prize winner Englander doesn't fail to please in his latest offering of eight Jewish-themed short stories. In the bizarre "Camp Sundown," a camp leader deals with aged attendees and reverse racism. In the surreal "Peep Show," a man going to a nudie show instead gets an eyeful of his old rabbi and his psychiatrist and pays a strange penance for his partial infidelity. From the sad finale of women trapped in "Sister Hills" to the hilarious quips in "Everything I Know About My Family on My Mother's Side," the stories run the gamut of emotions. Strange, funny, and, above all, thought--provoking, with a full-cast narration, including the author, one gets the feel of village tales being passed around among a large family. VERDICT A very enjoyable experience, recommended to fans of David Sedaris's Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary. ["A wonderful collection of short stories that will appeal to fans of Etgar Keret and Jonathan Safran Foer," read the review of the Knopf hc, LJ 2/15/12.-Ed.]-Terry Ann Lawler, Phoenix P.L. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

few literary works have better demonstrated their veracity lately than this glorious collection -- Pankaj Mishra * FINANCIAL TIMES *
Some of these stories are comic masterpieces, some embody as dark a vision of the universe as you are likely to encounter and all of them showcase a writer grappling with the great questions of modern life. * GRANTA *
Englander has written a fine collection, as intricately patterned across its length as a novel, although its stories are set in various decades and locations... a book of cautious, crafted, crafty stories that catch you off guard again and again. * THE SUNDAY TIMES *
This collection of short stories is covered with enthusiastic quotes from American literati. "This," you may think, "is either going to be fantastic or hyped nonsense." Thankfully, it's the former. * EMERALD STREET *
A remarkable collection * THE GUARDIAN *
The titular story - a twist on Raymond Carver's, of a similar name - jumps from brilliant Woody Allen-esque dialogue and comedy to darkness. * THE INDEPENDENT *
Englander deals with powerful questions of morality, history and vengeance. * THE DAILY TELEGRAPH *
His stories are moving and thought-provoking, pwerful and hilarious by turns. * NEWBOOKS magazine *
An amusing and moving collection. * THE SUNDAY BUSINESS POST *
This collection by one of America's best short-story writers displays his inimitable capacity to shock, sadden and simultaneously entertain in his explorations of Jewish history and politics. * THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH SEVEN Magazine *
remarkable precision, agility and depth * BIG ISSUE IN THE NORTH *

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