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What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank [Hardcover]

Nathan Englander
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
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Book Description

9 Feb 2012

From the up-and-coming young American writer who has contributed to McSweeney's and written for the New Yorker comes a masterful collection of short stories that has already received rave reviews from many of the most prominent writers working today. Some of the 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.





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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (9 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297867695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297867692
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 13.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 347,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More 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.

Product Description


Englander has written a fine collection, as intricately patterned across its length as a novel" (Robert MacFarlane SUNDAY TIMES 2012-01-22)

few literary works have better demonstrated their veracity lately than this glorious collection (Pankaj Mishra FINANCIAL TIMES 2012-01-28)

outstanding.. Englander shows an unerring ear for dialogue (Suzi Feay INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY 2012-01-29)

a remarkable collection, not least because of its courageous determination to push forward in the direction hinted at by that last story (James Lasdun THE GUARDIAN 2012-02-04)

offers something heftier and more challenging.. Englander has a fine capacity for writing both unflinchingly and idiosyncratically about these difficult subjects (Thomas Marks LITERARY REVIEW 2012-02-01)

it's great to see an author devoted to short stories in their own right - as potential gems worth polishing to perfection (Anthony Cummins SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 2012-02-05)

brilliant.. when he is (funny), he's sublime. (Hugo Rifkind THE TIMES 2012-02-11)

his finest work yet. He has a rare range: his clean writing feels fresh, but it vibrates with a charming old-world sensibility, much like his first acclaimed collection. (THE ECONOMIST 2012-02-11)

with its cool graphic cover and rapturous quotes from Dave Eggers and Jonathan Safran Foer, this slim volume of stories promises to be a revelation - and it is. (Clare Longrigg PSYCHOLOGIES)

There is never anything as clumsy as a twist in Englander's stories - just a gradual, deft dismantling of what you thought you knew, or could rely on" (Sophie Elmhirst NEW STATESMAN 2012-02-13)

a wonderful collection: entertaining, profound and gently powerful. It confirms Englander's stature as a serious comic voice. (Alison Kelly Times Literary Supplement 2012-02-17)

2012 preview: Englander's latest short story collection marks him out as one of the finest American writers of his generation. (Angel Gurria-Quintana FINANCIAL TIMES 2012-01-07)

Beautifully balanced between tragedy and comedy, ths collection is as enjoyable as it is thought provoking. (We Love This Book 2012-02-08)

The book comes so larded with compliments - from Jonathan Franzen, Jennifer Egan and Dave Eggers, amongst others - that you set out feeling certain it will disappoint. It doesn't. (Maggie Fergusson INTELLIGENT LIFE)

Englander combines a deft hand with a deceptively light touch. (Claire Allfree METRO 2012-02-29)

These stories are excellently crafted, unpredictable and often deeply troubling, raising uncomfortable questions while always maintaining a sharp wit. (PRESS ASSOCIATION 2012-02-23)

There is high literary talent here... enjoy Englander's mastery of the simplest, and hardest, form of writing - storytelling. (THE HERALD 2012-02-18)

2012 preview: acclaimed US writer Nathan Englander explores ideas of Jewish identity (Claire Allfree METRO 2012-01-03)

Englander's prose is simply beautiful, whether in dialogue or third-person; precise and poised, able to introduce the grit of reality while preserving the balance of the sentence (THE SCOTSMAN 2012-02-25)

takes vignettes from Jewish life and explores them with a humane understanding of the human condition in all its paindul absurdity, lending them a universal signifance... a small masterpiece of tragic restraint. (DAILY MAIL 2012-03-05)

Mr Englander knows where to hold back, a particular gift when writing about and around the martyr of his title, the locked up and locked in... Terrific collection. (INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE 2012-02-18)

It requires great control and confidence to operate with any consistency at the point where humour grates so excrutiatingly against calamity. In the best of this collection, Englander proves he has both. (Tim Martin DAILY TELEGRAPH 2012-03-24)

will leave you open-mouthed. (JEWISH CHRONICLE 2012-03-02)

2012 preview: Look out for Nathan Englander's much-garlanded collection of story about modern Jewishness (n/a THE GUARDIAN 2012-01-07)

Nathan Englander is a master of the short story and one of the great voices of our time. What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank showcases Englander's comic genius and lacerating vision of human nature as never before, in stories that are audacious, expertly crafted, and often unforgettably beautiful. The best work yet from a true American treasure (Gary Shteyngart Pre-publication praise)

It takes an exceptional combination of moral humility and moral assurance to integrate fine-grained comedy and large-scale tragedy as daringly as Nathan Englander does. His writing is liberal in every good sense of the word. (Jonathan Franzen Pre-publication praise)

Nathan Englander's new collection of stories tell the tangled truth of life, in prose that, as ever, surprises the reader with its gnarled beauty. One need look no further than 'Free Fruit for Young Widows' and 'Sister Hills' to find certifiable masterpieces of contemporary short story art. (Michael Chabon Pre-publication praise)

Nathan Englander is one of those rare writers who, like Faulkner, manages to make his seemingly obsessive, insular concerns all the more universal for their specificity. It's this neat trick, I think that makes the stories in his new collection so utterly haunting (Richard Russo Pre-publication praise)

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank is Nathan Englander's wisest, funniest, bravest and most beautiful book. It overflows with revelations and gems (Jonathan Safran Foer Pre-publication praise)

Nathan Englander's elegant, inquisitive, and hilarious fictions are a working definition of what the modern short story can do (Jonathan Lethem Pre-publication praise)

Nathan Englander is one of our most consistently brilliant, bold and funny writers-that part isn't really in doubt-but the depth of his feeling is the thing that separates him from just about everyone. You can hear his heart thumping feverishly on every page. And his stories are perhaps the most ideal vessel for his gifts (Dave Eggers Pre-publication praise)

This collection is a jolt of electricity through the heart, the head, the whole body nation. Here is a latitude of exquisitely-wrought prose. Courageous and provocative. Edgy and timeless. In Englander's hands, story-telling is a transformative act. Put him alongside Singer, Carver and Munro. Englander is, quite simply, one of the very best we have (Colum McCann Pre-publication praise)

Nathan Englander writes the stories I am always hoping for, searching for. These are stories that transport you into other lives, other dreams. This is deft, engrossing, deeply satisfying work. Englander is, to me, the modern master of the form. And this collection is the very best of the best (Geraldine Brooks Pre-publication praise)

What We Talk About When We Talk About Ann Frank vividly displays the humor, complexity, and edge that we've come to expect from Nathan Englander's fiction--always animated by a deep, vibrant core of historical resonance (Jennifer Egan Pre-publication praise)

glorious... Like all genuinely comic writers, he is profoundly serious - and moral. Nevertheless, his dialogue-rich stories move with a zing. (FINANCIAL TIMES 2012-06-30)

Book Description

Winner of the Frank O'Connor Award 2012. A dazzling short story collection by one of America's most critically acclaimed young writers.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Nathan Englander is one of our great young American writers of fiction and his latest short story collection, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank", is one of the finest I have read lately, replete with ample instances of humor and tragedy. Although Englander's stories deal with the vicissitudes of fortune experienced by Jews in America and Israel, his stories are quite insightful explorations of human character whose universal themes of love, remorse and revenge should appeal to those ignorant of Jewish culture and traditions. The title story is a literary homage to one of Raymond Carver's best stories, recounting how two long-lost friends from childhood compare and contrast their lives one afternoon, culminating in the sharing of a pot joint between themselves and their husbands; it's a most humorous fictional exploration of two rather divergent segments of Jewish society and culture. "Sister Hills" is a most vivid evocation of the trials and tribulations faced by some Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, spanning four decades in a few pages. Most of the other stories touch on various aspects of Jewish life in the United States, though the final story in the collection, "Free Fruit for Young Widows", is a rather harrowing exploration of the emotionally wrecked soul of one Holocaust survivor still haunted by the demons of his youth despite enjoying years of relative tranquility in Israel. "Peep Show", one of the middle stories in this collection, is the one most unlike the others, a fantasy-inspired romp about an older Jewish man's experience in a Times Square peep show parlor that's uncannily reminiscent of some of noted American science fiction and fantasy writer Michael Swanwick's fantasy tales in the latter's "The Dog Said Bow Wow" short story collection. Without question, Englander's second story collection is a most memorable set of tales emphasizing his high literary art.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read 7 Mar 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book of short stories is well worth reading. It is highly amusing as well as moving. Nathan Englander writes in an
engaging manner about some of the social and political issues facing us to-day.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There are so many better stories than the title one but the mix of situations gives you a interesting insight into jewish culture whether it be sad, funny or even a wee bit stereotypical...it was an excellent collection and I looked forward to each new story
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favourite .... 22 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was one of the chosen books for our book club this year. It didn't totally appeal to my taste but nonetheless is worth digging into.
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