Well, if nothing else, it’s looking good for hitting 52 books during my sabbatical. Though I should probably be aiming for something more like 65 in order to average a book a week, since I get summers on both ends of the academic year.
In any case, book 20 was What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, a book of short stories by Nathan Englander. The title, of course, is an homage too Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.
Like Carver, Englander writes stories so painful they can feel like a punch in the gut. Unlike Carver, who can stab you in the heart in a single page, Englander’s stories stretch the definition of “short.”
I’m not sure what to write about this book, honestly. I read it, enthralled. I nearly cried a few times. I was grateful to be reading in ebook format, so I could click on the Yiddish phrases to get their meanings.
The characters are all Jewish, some Orthodox, some reform, some living in Israel, some in the US. But all of them live a life that I can’t quite imagine, with a sorrow I’ve never known.