Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Review: What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank
What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander
My rating: 0 of 5 stars
What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank (2012) (winner of the 2012 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award)
- What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank
- Sister Hills
- How We Avenged the Blums
- Peep Show
- Everything I Know About My Family On My Mother's Side
- Camp Sundown
- The Reader
- Free Fruit For Young Widows
I'm reading What We ... Anne Frank and that first story is absolutely amazing. And, I've played that game, most notably when in Amsterdam at the Anne Frank House (the only day I wasn't high in Amsterdam, in fact.). But even before that, because around about fourteen or so I read a book [b:Alicia|401838|Alicia|Alicia Appleman-Jurman|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347686865s/401838.jpg|391242] from the library that kicked off a serious round of reading about the Holocaust such that a course on the subject became one of my few electives at university.
I found it both dark and funny and I felt like I learned about the process of decision making undertaken by religious Jews. I'm an atheist who grew up with few religious friends and what I learned from them (rightly or wrongly) was more about judgement and moralizing, rather than the actual process of weighing religious law against a situation. That fascinated me.
The second story didn't smack me up the side of the head in the same way, but Sister Hills I found interesting in the way it crammed so much history about the settling of contested areas in such a short story. And again with the glimpse into religious decision making. The next three I found sort of meh, and then the last three picked up again. I found Camp Sundown really interesting, The Reader a bit disturbing but quite an idea, and then the last one I liked a great deal.
That first story was 5-stars all the way though. The entire book is worth reading for that alone. (I mean, sure, you could just read that one story if you aren't me, but I can't do that. Must finish all pages in the order they are in - even if I'm reading Cosmo, so with a book I'm just compelled.)
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