What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

Book - 2012
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These eight new stories from the celebrated novelist and short-story writer Nathan Englander display a gifted young author grappling with the great questions of modern life, with a command of language and the imagination that place Englander at the very forefront of contemporary American fiction.
 
The title story, inspired by Raymond Carver's masterpiece, is a provocative portrait of two marriages in which the Holocaust is played out as a devastating parlor game. In the outlandishly dark "Camp Sundown" vigilante justice is undertaken by a group of geriatric campers in a bucolic summer enclave. "Free Fruit for Young Widows" is a small, sharp study in evil, lovingly told by a father to a son. "Sister Hills" chronicles the history of Israel's settlements from the eve of the Yom Kippur War through the present, a political fable constructed around the tale of two mothers who strike a terrible bargain to save a child. Marking a return to two of Englander's classic themes, "Peep Show" and "How We Avenged the Blums" wrestle with sexual longing and ingenuity in the face of adversity and peril. And "Everything I Know About My Family on My Mother's Side" is suffused with an intimacy and tenderness that break new ground for a writer who seems constantly to be expanding the parameters of what he can achieve in the short form.
 
Beautiful and courageous, funny and achingly sad, Englander's work is a revelation.
Publisher: New York : Knopf, 2012.
ISBN: 9780307958709
0307958701
Branch Call Number: ENGLANDE
Characteristics: 207 pages ; 25 cm.

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uncommonreader
Feb 13, 2014

Eight long short stories, comic, provocative and dense but uneven.

l
lukasevansherman
Apr 01, 2013

It takes some pretty big matzo balls to invoke both Anne Frank and Raymond Carver in the title of your short story collection. Carver's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" is one of the most discussed and influential modern American short stories and it casts a long shadow, one which Englander can't quite escape in his title story. Thankfully, the other stories in this 2012 collection, most of which focus on Jewish characters, history and themes, are more engaging and original. A worthwhile alternative to the overpraised stories of George Saunders that may appeal to fans of early Philip Roth.

n
nhoj
Jul 30, 2012

Writing from a very Jewish perspective he tells real stories of Jewish people caught up in life. He sees to the heart of things quickly and usually has a twist in the end. Some stories were "too" jewish for me - I couldn't relate to the characters or sometimes the cultural idiosyncracies.

c
Carlitos
Jul 15, 2012

Though Nathan Englander's story collection focuses on Jewish characters, its themes are universal, often going from hilarious to heartbreaking in a single story. The title story is especially brilliant.

debwalker Feb 14, 2012

Stories about people who live under the cloud of Shoah.

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