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Their acceptance as acrobats was a stretch, a first-glance guess, a benefit of the doubt granted by circumstance and only as valuable as their debut would prove. It was an absurd undertaking. But then again, Mendel thought, no more unbelievable than the reality from which they'd escaped, no more unfathomable than the magic of disappearing Jews.Another story, "Reb Kringle," is almost breezy by comparison. Each year, one Brooklynite dreads his holiday job from hell, playing Santa Claus in a Manhattan department store: "There were elves posted on each side of Itzik; one--a humorless, muscular midget--wore a pair of combat boots that gave him the look of elf-at-arms. His companion might have been a twin. He wore black high-tops but had the same vigilant paramilitary demeanor." Itzik can put up with the children's accidents and greed, with his sciatica, and even with a mischief maker's attempt to cut off his beard. But when one boy admits that what he really wants to do is celebrate Hanukkah, "the infamous Reb Santa" loses it. Though this is undoubtedly the collection's lightest piece--proof positive that you have to be a saint to be a Jewish Santa--it is no less piercing an examination of identity and obligation than Englander's more heavyweight entries. --Kerry Fried
Really excellent collection. These stories are about people in Orthodox Jewish communities in NYC and in Israel. Read morePublished 2 months ago by hotheadpaisan
I really loved these stories. There was a truthfulness about the characters that I don't find very often - and I read a lot. Read morePublished 8 months ago by wrentzu
Book was in satisfactory condition and is an excellent read.Published 9 months ago by Micky Rubensteinm
Clever, humorous but meaningful collection of short stories.Published 13 months ago by Marlene Haus
Having read two of Englander's stories from his new collection, What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, the title story, and the chilling "Free Fruit for Young Widows,"... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Larry Benjamin
Touching and beautiful short stories written by one of our best young writers, Nathan Englander. Love it and highly recommend to anybody who likes historical fiction.Published 20 months ago by David Raymer
This guy is awesome. This is the second book i've read by him. Each of these short stories leaves you thinking about what happens next.Published 22 months ago by Ora Rabinovich