What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank: Stories and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$7.00
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by BigHeartedBooks
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Book is in very good condition, there may be some minor wear from a prior reader or two but very good books are in excellent condition. Super fast shipping is available and we offer a money back guarantee.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank: Stories Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 7, 2012


See all 12 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, Deckle Edge
"Please retry"
$5.33 $0.01
Multimedia CD
"Please retry"

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (February 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307958701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307958709
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #407,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The sense comes easily that Englander, author of the celebrated short story collection For the Relief of Unbearable Urges (1999) and the absorbing novel The Ministry of Special Cases (2007), will always favor the short story form. In his new collection, the reader feels the musculature beneath the skin of his short fiction and keenly appreciates that this is where his supreme power lies. Englander is his own writer. One may think of, say, Bernard Malamud as a possible influence, but which masters, if any, guided him in the early stages of his career have been bid adieu, as Englander sails his own personally mapped seas. His plots are richly developed, and traditional short story techniques are used only when suitable. A case in point is the complex “Sister Hills,” which, fablelike in its deep resonance and applicability to human behavior beyond its particular circumstances, sees the growth of a Jewish settlement at various points in time, from 1973 to 2011. But in the drama unfolding in the foreground, one woman gives her child to another woman to protect the youngster from unidentified evil. The stresses between Jewish orthodoxy and a more secular practice of religious life are apparent in the title story, in which two school friends, grown now and with husbands and children, visit together 20 years after one couple moved to Israel and turned Hasidic. Their discussion of lifestyle choices, specifically within the context of a hypothetical second Holocaust, leads to uncomfortable realizations about one woman’s spouse. --Brad Hooper

Review

Praise for Nathan Englander’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank
 
“Englander’s new collection of stories tells the tangled truth of life in prose that, as ever, surprises the reader with its gnarled beauty . . . Certifiable masterpieces of contemporary short-story art.”
—Michael Chabon
 
“A resounding testament to the power of the short story from a master of the form. Englander’s latest hooks you with the same irresistible intimacy, immediacy and deliciousness of stumbling in on a heated altercation that is absolutely none of your business; it’s what great fiction is all about.”
—Téa Obreht
 
“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.”
—Jonathan Franzen
 
“Courageous and provocative. Edgy and timeless. In Englander’s hands, storytelling is a transformative act. Put him alongside Singer, Carver, and Munro. Englander is, quite simply, one of the very best we have.”
—Colum McCann
 
“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

"What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne 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
 
Englander’s wisest, funniest, bravest, and most beautiful book. It overflows with revelations and gems.”
—Jonathan Safran Foer
 
“Nathan Englander’s elegant, inquisitive, and hilarious fictions are a working definition of what the modern short story can do.”
—Jonathan Lethem
 
“The depth of Englander’s feeling is the thing that separates him from just about everyone. You can hear his heart thumping feverishly on every page.”
—Dave Eggers
 
“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

“A marvel … At home in many idioms, Englander unerringly finds the right one for each of his stories…few literary works have better demonstrated their veracity lately than this glorious collection.” – Financial Times
 
“Outstanding…In the title story, two Jewish couples spar relentlessly, and Englander shows an unerring ear for dialogue” – The Independent
 
 “Nathan Englander, a master of short fiction, writes about West Bank settlers and Orthodox families, the Holocaust and mixed marriages, but not to editorialize about them. His real subjects are memory, obsession, choices, and consequences…In Nathan Englander’s eyes, human beings make choices for admirable and regrettable reasons, with good and bad outcomes. His compelling storytelling, his compassion, and his startling originality make Englander an essential writer. This collection confirms his exceptional talents yet again, and it is not to be missed.” –Jewish Book Council
 
 “Few collections are ever heralded as ‘big books’ or are met with as much excitement as Nathan Englander’s. Relieving our unbearable urge for more is What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, stories that possess the age-old wisdom of folktales populated by characters trapped in the net of history confronting the universal capacity for evil and the depths of our longing.” –Vanity Fair
 
One of Newsweek’s 12 for 2012
 
“While so much of today’s Jewish-American fiction revolves around the inheritance of loss and the ancestral need to remember, Englander brilliantly, often hilariously, and occasionally quite jarringly tackles the very nature of memory itself, how extreme the difference can be between generations, and what exactly one owes one’s forbearers when it comes to a heritage of pain and dislocation.” –Interview
 
One of The Millions’ Most Anticipated: The Great 2012 Book Preview
 
“In his new collection, the reader feels the musculature beneath the skin of his short fiction and keenly appreciates that this is where his supreme power lies. Englander is his own writer. One may think of, say, Bernard Malamud as a possible influence, but which masters, if any, guided him in the early stages of his career have been bid adieu as Englander sails his own personally mapped seas.” –Booklist
 
 “Parables of emotional complexity and moral ambiguity, with lessons that are neither easy nor obvious, by a short-story master…The author at his best.” –Kirkus (Starred Review)
 
“Although most of the stories center on Englander’s clear interest in the role religion and history play on his characters’ lives, they also transcend these narrow themes to address the universal with humor and subtle observation…In his wide-ranging new collection, Englander masters the art of the short story with all its craft, humor and compassion.” –Shelf Awareness
 
 “What Englander is saying is that we know ourselves, or don’t, on different levels, that we exist individually and as part of a heritage…Who will hide us? Who are we, really? How do ritual and culture intersect? Such questions exist at the heart of this accomplished collection, in which stories are what make us who we are.” –LA Times
 
 “What’s wonderful about Englander is that all of his stories seem like they would fall flat or foolish in someone—anyone—else’s hands, but somehow he manages to pull it off and leave you breathless at the end.” –Flavorpill (10 New Must-Reads for February)
 
“This volume showcases Mr. Englander’s extraordinary gifts as a writer…a combination of psychological insight, allegorical gravity and sometimes uproarious comedy…to explore how faith and family (and the stories characters tell about faith and family) ineluctably shape an individual’s identity.” –Michiko Kakutani
 
“Englander has sharpened his focus. His subjects are mercy, vengeance and their moody, intractable stepchild, righteousness. He is never deaf to the past or willing to grant us that luxury…A kind of hard-won wisdom spills out on every page…Terrific collection.” –New York Times Book Review
 
“In What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, Englander brilliantly weaves the sacred and secular together so deftly as to make them impossible to separate. In doing so, he reveals the ways in which what is holy can be both heartbreaking and hilarious.” –BookPeople’s Blog
 
“Englander’s stories are at times startling, even transgressing. But they ring true and are a funny, chilling joy to read.” –Cleveland Plain Dealer
 
“In a style that successfully mixes humor and seriousness, these are stories to savor. Englander writes with a special gentleness in creations that can e deeply, poignantly sad, or darkly humorous, although never cruel.” –Chicago Jewish Star
 
“The title story of Englander’s book, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank,” is one of the funniest and most impressive stories I’ve read in years…Amusing, tender and insightful.” –Highbrow Magazine
 
“Masterful…sacred, profane and sometimes bitterly funny.” –USA Today
 
“Englander’s second book of stories deserves high praise. It’s audacious and idiosyncratic, darkly clever and brightly faceted…Illustrate why Englander is the world’s best young interpreter of the Jewish dilemma.” –San Francisco Chronicle
 
What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank is a wonderful collection: entertaining, profound and gently powerful. It confirms Englander’s stature as a serious comic voice.” –Times Literary Supplement
 
“[A] humane, philosophically provocative new story collection.” –Boston Globe
 
“[Englander] never writes less than gorgeously, but when, from narrow confines, he puts his finger on the universal, he’s Shakespeare.” –Bloomberg
 
“Englander’s fictional worlds are fully realized places that celebrate the whole glorious morass of humanity, the ugly and the beautiful, the deadly and the divine, the despairing and the hilarious. In fact, there are few writers alive that are as funny as Englander…Stellar.” –Tottenville Review
 
“Introspective, self-divided, and self-ironical characters recur often in Englander’s stories, cutting the heaviness of the darker themes of loss and violence that permeate the narrative…A wonderful collection.” –Library Journal
 
“[Englander’s] finest work yet. He has a rare range; his clean writing feels fresh, but it vibrates with a c...

More About the Author

Nathan Englander is the author of the story collections What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank and the internationally bestselling story collection For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, as well as the novel The Ministry of Special Cases (all published by Knopf/Vintage).

His short fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Washington Post, as well as The O. Henry Prize Stories and numerous editions of The Best American Short Stories.

Translated into more than a dozen languages, Englander was selected as one of "20 Writers for the 21st Century" by The New Yorker, received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a PEN/Malamud Award, the Bard Fiction Prize, and the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. He's been a fellow at the Dorothy & Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, and at The American Academy of Berlin. He teaches in the Graduate Writing Program at Hunter College along with Peter Carey and Colum McCann, and, in the summer, he teaches a course for NYU's Writers in Paris program.

This year, along with the publication of his new collection, Englander's play The Twenty-Seventh Man will premiere at The Public Theater, and his translation New American Haggadah (edited by Jonathan Safran Foer) will be published by Little Brown. He also co-translated Etgar Keret's Suddenly A Knock at the Door forthcoming in March from FSG. He lives in Brooklyn, New York and Madison, Wisconsin.

Customer Reviews

Nathan Englander is a master short story writer.
Israel Drazin
The book was enjoyable and great for picking up every few days to read through another short story.
Seth Daniels
Several of the endings of the stories also take the reader by surprise as well.
H. F. Corbin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The allusion to Raymond Carver's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" in the title piece is a little stretched, but it is a terrific story just the same. The similarity is mainly the situation of a alcohol-fueled conversation between two married couples that reveal some uncomfortable truths. Englander does not go for Carver's compact elegance, but his truths would strike home under any title. The story explores the position of Jews in the modern world. Debbie and Lauren were best friends in yeshiva school, but have taken different directions. Debbie has married a secular Jew, relaxed her observance, and now keeps touch with her heritage mainly through an obsessive interest in the Holocaust. Lauren has become ultra-orthodox, changed her name to Shoshana, and moved with her husband Yerucham (formerly Mark) to Israel, where she has borne ten children, all girls. For Yerucham, the real Holocaust is not what happened in the past, but the dilution occurring now as Jew marries Gentile.

The extremes possible in Jewish belief are shown even more strongly in the second story, "Sister Hills," my favorite of the collection. Set in a pioneering settlement in Samaria over the course of four decades (1973, 1987, 2000, and 2011), it represents both the heroism of the settler movement and the stubbornness that, rather than give up on a principle, would persist with a situation in which nobody wins. Similar issues are raised by the next story, "How We Avenged the Blums," about a group of suburban boys getting their own back on an anti-Semitic bully, only to have to confront the violence they have unleashed in themselves.
Read more ›
5 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
37 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Eric Maroney on March 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Nathan Englander is reckoned a great writer now, and it shows in the constellation of literary stars who have endorsed this book of short stories with a blurb. Jonathan Franzen calls this work a "fine-grained comedy and large scale-tragedy." Jonathan Safran Foer, Englander's friend, says the work "overflows with revelations and gems." Michael Cabon sums it all up when he calls this collection "Certifiable masterpieces of contemporary short art." Other no less brazen blurbs are provided by Jonathan Letham and Gary Shetyngart, completing the Ponzi pyramid of admiration.

Unfortunately, this collection does not nearly meet up to his hyperbole of acclaim. These stories as a whole are weak. It would be hoped, in a of collection eight stories, there would one or two which could redeem the collection, but in this case it is not so. Englander misses the mark again and again, producing a collection that can be called embarrassing on the one end and a failure on the other.

What goes wrong? First, there is language. Englander's previous work had daring sentences, interesting syntax, and bold juxtapositions of words. These stories are flat and dry on the level of language. Englander is not doing anything real or new with his words. He is just producing them with no sense of the poetry of language. Second is character development. Almost to a story, Englander fails to provide a living, breathing portrait of a person. His characters dance around the fringes of believability, making bad jokes and common observations about life that do nothing to enliven the reader. By and large they are stereotypes, not characters. Finally, the structure of the stories fall well short of being masterpieces of short art.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A. Silverstone VINE VOICE on January 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This collection of 8 short stories by acclaimed Jewish-American author Nathan Englander is sure to make you think. They revolve around Jewish or Israeli themes, but what unites these stories is always an O'Henry-like twist at the end coming from where least you expect. The first, eponymous story involves a religious American couple from Israel visiting their secularized friends in Florida. At first, what seems to be a clash of cultures evolves into the definition of love. One of the most amusing stories in the book is Camp Sundown. The head of a camp that has a youth section and an elder hostel is going slowly insane because a group of seniors suspect one of their bridge-playing members of being a former concentration camp guard. Okay, writing that description does not sound like a good basis for humor, but then that is why Englander is the author, and I, a reader. In another story, Peep Show, another secularized Jew finds his mind playing tricks on him when he goes to a Times Square, of course, peep show, and the women start morphing into rabbis and then worse.
Englander has his characters struggle with identity, morals, and sometimes just making it through the day intact. His stories do not come to a conclusion as much as just end, leaving the reader to contemplate what does it all mean, and what does this say about my life. Englander continues to be a master story teller, who leads us down roads we didn't know existed and weren't sure we wanted to follow.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Pulitzer-prize-winning author Edward P. Jones has said that in a good short story that "the world, for even one character, has shifted, whether to a large or tiny degree." All the eight stories included in Nathan Englander's fine collection WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ANNE FRANK-- are we to think about Raymond Carver from this title?-- indeed live up to that standard. Several of the endings of the stories also take the reader by surprise as well. The characters are Jewish; the stories are mostly set in the U. S. and Israel and may go back several decades up to the present. Mr. Englander writes about anti-Semitism, the conflict between generations, the letter of the law versus natural law, the conflicts between secular Jews and observant Jews, revenge, justice, the importance of writing. Moral ambiquities abound. And like all good writers, the author asks many more questions than he answers.

While all eight stories are superb, four of them stand out. In the title story Mark and Lauren who have "turned Hasidic" and are now called Yerucham and Shoshana and living in Israel visit old friends Mike and Debbie in South Florida. After an evening of conversation that goes in several directions and with the help of some industrial strength pot they play a serious game. The ending is worthy of James Joyce's brilliant short story "The Dead" and just as surprising. In the very moving "Everything I Know About My Family on My Mother's Side" the narrator, whose name is Nathan, delves into his family's history and discovers long kept family secrets. Surely this story will resonate with practically every reader. Almost every friend of mine and I as well have uncovered-- often by accident-- family skeletons years after the occurrence.
Read more ›
12 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?