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News from the New American Diaspora: and Other Tales of Exile (Literary Modernism) Paperback – May 1, 2005

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From Ukraine to Brooklyn and from Brooklyn to western Massachusetts and Florida, wandering Jews stray far from their geographical, cultural and spiritual homes in Neugeboren's assured third collection of stories (after Corky's Brother and Don't Worry About the Kids). His characters exhibit complex symptoms of their displacement, self-imposed or otherwise, in these tales about memory and dislocation, many of which are framed as reminiscences. In "Poppa's Books," one of the collection's most moving stories, two sons, age five and eight, are buffeted between their immigrant parents, an impoverished book peddler who was an honored and learned man in the old country and a woman warped with bitterness over her husband's failure to achieve the American dream. A desolate, modern-day Amherst, Mass., is the setting for "Good in Bed," in which a middle-aged, Brooklyn-born academic finds comfort in the arms of an Italian-Catholic grad student when his gentile wife demands a divorce. In "Lev Kogan's Journey," Neugeboren eloquently captures another Massachusetts man's conflicted sense of peoplehood when a charming Soviet refusenik seduces him and his family in more ways than one. Though a few pieces (e.g., the title story) read as more labored and self-conscious, this is an evocative collection from a confident storyteller. (May)
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"[Short stories] require conscious craftsmanship and artistic skill. Jay Neugeboren meets and surpasses these essential qualifications as he superbly demonstrates in the dozen short stories that make up this brilliant collection." (Morton I. Teicher The Jewish Advocate 2005-10-21)

"A book of Mr. Neugeboren's inimitable, irreplaceable, unforgettable short stories is always an occasion for cheering. Here are people caught in the coils of history and simultaneously captured in the freeze-frame of memory. Their stories are among this fine writer's best achievements: humorous even when the characters are in extremity, moving and tender, made of flexible, lucid language that honors the reader as well as the people on the page. This News is great news." (Frederick Busch, author of Memory of War, Don't Tell Anyone, and War Babies)

"Jay Neugeboren's stories are radiant with the author's delight in the vagaries of his eccentric characters, whose disorganized lives and hearts are a poignant reflection of our own. In these bittersweet tales of unexpected losses and gains, Neugeboren shows himself once again a master storyteller at the top his form." (Lynne Sharon Schwartz, author of The Fatigue Artist, Face to Face: A Reader in the World, and Referred Pain and Other Stories)

"Jay Neugeboren's News from the New American Diaspora is filled with Jewish angels and demons. From the opening pages, the stories never cease to startle us, and they force us to rethink who we are in this strange new century of ours when all of us are adrift." (Jerome Charyn, author of The Green Lantern and other books)

Product Details

  • Series: Literary Modernism
  • Paperback: 166 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press; First Edition edition (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292706618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292706613
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,496,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Jay Neugeboren is the author of 22 books, including five prize-winning novels (The Stolen Jew, 1940, etc.), two prize-winning books of nonfiction (Imagining Robert, Transforming Madness), and four collections of award-winning stories. His stories and essays have appeared in many publications, including The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, The American Scholar, The New York Times, Ploughshares, Black Clock, and Hadassah, and have been reprinted in more than 50 anthologies, including Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. A professor and writer-in-residence for many years at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Mr. Neugeboren has taught at other universities, including Stanford, Indiana, S.U.N.Y. at Old Westbury, and Freiburg (Germany). He now lives and writes in New York City, where he is on the faculty of the Writing Program of the Graduate School of the Arts at Columbia University.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In the interest of full disclosure, let me say up front -- I am a Philistine. I struggle with poetry (or mostly avoid it); tend to fall asleep mid-sentence when reading overly-literary books; and often, when I finish a short story, I scratch my head and say "huh?"

But, I have read a couple of Jay Neugeboren's novels and so I thought I'd give this collection a scan one evening while propped up on pillows waiting for Jon Stewart to come on. I missed Jon Stewart that night, so rivited was I to these stories.

I'm not going to go into each tale or even say which were my favoirtes. Some are touching, some are humorous, and some are depressing, but all are arresting, surprising and thought provoking. Even the dedication is a story -- one that brought me to tears.

Knowing that it might threaten my status as a Philistine, I nonetheless would like to mention that it is a joy to read Neugeboren's writing -- to study his sentence structure, word choices, and timing. He is a literary writer who is at once complex and accessible.

Rita Bleiman

Author "Dirty Tricks"
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