Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank: Stories-Nathan Englander

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank: Stories

Nathan Englander

Knopf, Feb 7 2012, $24.95

ISBN: 9780307958709

This insightful anthology focuses on living Jewish in a modern fast food world; yet the themes of conflict (modernization and assimilation vs. tradition, anti-Semitism, and grief, etc.) are universal. These excellent eight entries were published previously over the past five or so years but not in one place.

“What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank” stars two married intoxicated women discussing the Holocaust as the secular Jew says the Nazis are the culprit while the orthodox Jew says it is now with assimilation leading to mixed marriages.

“Sister Hills” focuses on a settlement in Samaria over four decades ago in which the heroic Jews build their city, but their rigidity in a changing world leaves everyone in peril.

The students decided an eye for an eye when they confront an anti-Semitic bully in “How We Avenged the Blums,” but now feel haunted with what they did.

He indulged in “Peep Show” porn in Times Square, which gave him pleasure until everyone even the strippers became rabbis lecturing him.

"Everything I Know About My Family on My Mother's Side" has a different tone; that of a cherished memoir.

“Camp Sundown” in the Berkshires hosts seniors who believe one of them is a concentration camp guard who deserves swift justice.

The Author would do book tours to lines out into the street; now no one shows up except one elderly “Reader” who demands he read.

“Free Fruit for Young Widows” who pass down from generation to generation tales of surviving the Holocaust, but the survivor is not the same soul that she was when she entered the death camps.

Harriet Klausner

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