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The Opposite of Everything Paperback – March 11, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


"Meet David Kalish, whose exuberant, hilarious first novel uncovers the light side of divorce, cancer, and computer dating. Sharp-tongued yet warm-hearted, Mr. Kalish shows us that the opposite of everything we know is exactly what we've needed to learn." --Askold Melnyczuk, The House of Widows, Ambassador of the Dead; founding editor, Agni Magazine

"The Opposite of Everything is an evocative tale of pre-hipster Brooklyn in which Mr. Kalish injects his pitch-perfect humor into some of the most challenging quandaries a career-focused New Yorker can face. His oddball characters mix in a clash of cultures between native New Yorkers and the immigrants who infuse the city, and the book s central character, with new life." --Gerry Mullany, deputy editor, The New York Times

"Kalish knows these people intimately, and he tells their tale with heart, grace, and a journalist's clear eye." --Will Hermes, Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever

About the Author

David Kalish earned his MFA at Bennington College. His short fiction has been published in Temenos, Knock, Spectrum, and Poydras Review, his non-fiction in the Writer's Chronicle, and a short film of his, Regular Guy, won honors in film festivals here and abroad. Before Bennington, he was an editor and reporter at The Associated Press, and his articles have appeared in major newspapers. He is currently working on a second novel and on a theatre script for a Latin version of A Christmas Carol. He lives in upstate New York with his wife, daughter, two dogs, and two canaries.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: WiDo Publishing (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937178439
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937178437
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,289,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Kalish is a playwright, screenwriter, and author of The Opposite of Everything, a comedic novel coming in March 2014. His fiction has been published in numerous literary magazines and a short film of his, "Regular Guy," won honors in film festivals here and abroad. He earned his MFA in fiction writing at the Bennington College Writing Seminars. Before Bennington, he was a journalist for twelve years at the New York City headquarters of The Associated Press. He is currently working on a second novel and a Latin-themed comedic musical entitled, The Gringo Who Stole Christmas.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Teacher Mom on April 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
As an elementary school teacher, the title of this book is what first caught my eye. Anyone who has spent any time with kids has experienced the giggling proclamation “Its Opposite Day! Yes means No!” David Kalish takes this idea to a new extreme by giving us the life of Daniel Plotnick.

Plotnick is your average newly wed 30-something with a steady job, rent, bills and a fairly mediocre life. One day a literal lump in his throat sends him to the doctor where he is diagnosed with cancer. Don’t worry; it’s the good kind, well, until it’s not. As he copes with his diagnosis, his wife begins trying all kinds of dietary cleanses on him to fight the cancer. When he finds her sneaking Hagen Daz in the kitchen, he realizes some things need to change. Later, reflecting on his scans, he decides that the world is full of positive and negative, matter and anti matter. Since the matter hasn’t been kind, he decides to embrace anti – matter. He decides to do the opposite of everything he’s ever done.

Cue the funny parts. Like Job, Plotnick can’t seem to get a break. His divorce involves a call to the police. His dad’s “help” to get him back to the singles scene involves senior citizens, “old fart” music and ends in a dive off the George Washington Bridge (where Plotnick is luckily saved by his new nose ring getting stuck in a net). His telephone lineman by day/bartender by night friend sets him up on a series of forgettable dates that occur on three consecutive Fridays at the same Chinese restaurant. Kalish describes the meetings as “test-driving Fords across the worn and weathered rim of the Great Wall of China.”

Eventually his luck turns around when he meets a woman through the internet.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By LJS on June 26, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sorry, I tried hard to like it, but by the mid-point, I just didn't care what happened to him or his new wife or anyone else. There's a thing about most "modern" novels, and that is that they feel contrived. There are very, very few contemporary writers of depth and class.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jada Ryker on February 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Don't Cross the Streams

It's 1996 and Daniel Plotnick has a good life. He's only been married for four months. He likes his job.

He's told he has thyroid cancer. Daniel's doctor happily informs him there's a 90% success rate.

Unfortunately, the 10% bites Daniel in the butt…or neck.

Daniel doesn't think it can get any worse. He's horrified when his wife turns her childhood and early adult mistakes into an act of cosmic karma. She believes her hurtful actions led to Daniel's death sentence.

"It was bottom of the ninth, two strikes, two outs. Gripping the bat handle, she stared hard at the pitcher motionless on the mound, a pitcher who threatened to strike them out. Turn their lives into a cosmic joke. A joke that began, like so many, in a smoky bar. A woman gazes into a stranger’s eyes, lets him buy her a drink. Existential philosophies and phone numbers are exchanged. After several adventures, she hitches a ride on his star. But the star goes nova."

As he drearily looks at his medical scans, Daniel has an epiphany. The scans are reverse images. Why not apply it to his life? Instead of a childhood Opposite Day at school, Daniel decides to use it every single day.

David Kalish guides the reader through various rites of passage with a humorous and sensitive hand. The Opposite of Everything is a how-to book for taking crap and turning it into gold.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By RickyReader on February 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I absolutely loved this book. It kept me engaged and turning pages far after I should have been sleeping! David Kalish has the ability to expose what makes us human in a way that makes us smile at our own frailties and silliness. It is feisty, quick-paced, and will have you cheering on the protagonist as he makes the choices that will affect his future.

David's powerful use of words and imagery allowed me to see the characters and their surroundings as vividly as if I was watching them on the big screen. A great offering by a great writer. Can't wait to see what he cooks up next!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By LEN on July 20, 2014
Format: Paperback
I have good friends who are coping with serious illness and have had patients whose lives are turned upside down by cancer, or other life-threatening conditions. I am always inspired by their courage, determination, and personal stories, from which I derive abiding, deep empathy, as I listen to their day-to-day accounting of moments of pain, physical and emotional. Most of all, I'm amazed that their lives mostly stay on track, as they ride an unfolding psychological rollercoaster. David Kalish's, The Opposite of Everything, distills the emotional stages of grief in response to serious illness, but mostly through artful pros that create a healing prism of humor; rapidly turning the pages of this novel, as I found myself laughing out loud, I was reminded that laughter and light-hearted irony can carry one through adversity. Usually a slow reader, I inhaled this book in a few deep breaths. Its rich oxygen supply of hilarious scenes, told in a sensitive, keen, third-personal eye, focuses on a regular guy, Dan Plotnick, who happens to have advanced thyroid cancer. I laughed with him, cried with him, ranted and raved and bitched with him, as he persevered through divorce, the clumsy support of a cad, yet lovable father, and a loyal, hail-fellow-well-met buddy (in the American Heritage Dictionary connotation of the term for the only really reliable friend when others have fled the scene). I highly recommend this book. I won't be a spoiler, but, in the spirit of Jewish humor, whether the reader is Jewish or not, the mishegas (Yiddish for craziness), reaches a side-splitting, genechtagazoink-tearing climax during the wedding scene. Beware of the Jewish-Latin nuptials, and walk the path of Daniel Plotnick.
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