Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stories To Be Grateful For
Nathan Englander’s latest book makes you glad to be a reader

I’ve come to like short stories better than novels. The good ones are tight, focused, nothing extraneous. No clumsy transitions, no padding, no pages you want to skip like you do in too many novels because they aren’t as good as the early, promising pages.
Ann Beattie. Frank O’Connor. Updike. Joyce. Flannery O’Connor. Bernard Malamud. Hemingway. J.D.Salinger. John Cheever. Those are my favorites. Now I’ll add Nathan Englander.

I recently read Englander’s second collection, [ital]What We talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank[ital]. If you’re a short story reader, you know the feeling of finishing a great story and putting the book down and staring at the air in the room, or holding the book up and staring at it. You’re totally satisfied and you’re totally stimulated at the same time. That’s how I felt after each of the eight stories in the book. If you like short stories, don’t even wait for the paperback. Go to a store and get a copy.

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