What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan EnglanderThese 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.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank
Mark and Lauren live in Jerusalem, and people from there think it gives them the right. Mark is looking all stoic and nodding his head. Sun and palm trees. Old Jews and oranges and the worst drivers around. I look at Lauren. She and Mark ran off to Israel twenty years ago and turned Hasidic, and neither of them will put a hand on the other in public. Not for this.
There is a dark undertow to many of these stories, reminding us of the human capacity for evil and appetite for revenge. The Holocaust casts a shadow over the lives of many of Mr. Even in cases where the main characters are friends or allies, grief or bad luck can lead to heartless behavior. Aheret survived, grew up to be a young woman, and now Rena, alone and bitter, decides to reclaim her, insisting that the girl forfeit her freedom and come to live with her as a caregiver. At his best, Mr. Englander manages to delineate such extreme behavior with a combination of psychological insight, allegorical gravity and sometimes uproarious comedy.
Three witty and illuminating collections from North America tackle hidden histories and everyday epiphanies. Nathan Englander may take his title from Raymond Carver, but in the opening story it's a family joke that twists into something grimmer. And yet this is far from a sombre book. In the title story, two Jewish couples spar relentlessly, and Englander shows an unerring ear for dialogue. Mark observes that his hosts' teenage son "does not seem Jewish to me". A lot of pressure, I'd venture, to look Jewish to you.
Who Was Anne Frank? - History
N athan Englander's acclaimed first collection of stories, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges , was a serio-comic take on the clash of flesh and spirit, viewed mostly through the prism of an Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn. Drawing on a fabulist tradition running from Yiddish theatre via Kafka to Woody Allen, it used a series of farcical inversions — a rabbi employed as a Santa; a Park Avenue Wasp who suddenly finds himself "the bearer of a Jewish soul" — to animate its portrayal of a world that hadn't had much attention in fiction since the stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer. It was a terrific book, but a notably apolitical one. History was present in the form of the Holocaust, but there was little interest in the wider contemporary context of Jewish life. Of course, Brooklyn isn't Israel, and not every book about Jews has to take on the Middle East, but looking back you notice its absence. The final story, set in Jerusalem, featured a suicide bombing, and did seem to be reaching for some kind of political dimension.