The eight stories in Englander’s virtuosic new collection are all over the place: The title story is set in a Florida McMansion; the next, in the valleys of the West Bank. Some tales are absurdist; others are firmly rooted in reality (and a few fall somewhere in between). Yet each of these meticulously chiseled stories — most of which center on Jewish characters and the ways past tragedies loom large in their present lives — contains a hidden stinger that throws the reader for a wicked loop. The best stories in What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, such as ”Sister Hills” and ”Camp Sundown,” entrance you with wry humor and stark prose, only to jolt you with a disturbing, revelatory turn. These are stories that give you goose bumps. A
WORLDWIDE WONDER Englander's short stories might take place in various locales, but each resonates with revelatory characters
Genre: Essays, Fiction; Author: Nathan Englander; Publisher: Knopf
Posted February 10 2012 — 12:00 AM EST
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