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For the Relief of Unbearable Urges: Stories (Vintage International) (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

This was recommended by a close friend and I have to say Englander is now my favorite new author despite how long he’s been around. His writing leaves just enough unsaid to guess at surreal interpretations before grounding the reader in hard reality. And he doesn’t bore the reader with unnecessary dialogue, leading to poignant lines of action and arresting commentary.

— Ian

The first diamond I ever found in Bookshop’s markdown bins. Short stories that stutter your heart and build crystalline, perfect images in your mind, which will stay with you for years. Multicultural, complex, with narratives from highly differing perspectives… perfect for Jhumpa Lahiri readers.

— a.c.


Energized, irreverent, and deliciously inventive stories from Pulitzer-nominated, bestselling author of What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank.

In the collection's hilarious title story, a Hasidic man gets a special dispensation from his rabbi to see a prostitute. "The Wig" takes an aging wigmaker and makes her, for a single moment, beautiful. In "The Tumblers," Englander envisions a group of Polish Jews herded toward a train bound for the death camps and, in a deft, imaginative twist, turns them into acrobats tumbling out of harm's way.

For the Relief of Unbearable Urges is a work of startling authority and imagination--a book that is as wondrous and joyful as it is wrenchingly sad. It hearalds the arrival of a remarkable new storyteller.

About the Author

Nathan Englander is the author of the novel The Ministry of Special Cases and the story collections For the Relief of Unbearable Urges and What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, a winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at New York University and lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and daughter.

Praise For…

"Englander's voice is distinctly his own--daring, funny and exuberant." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times"Taut, edgy, sharply observed. . . . A revelation of the human condition." --The New York Times Book Review"Remarkable art. . . .The author fills each of these pieces with vivid life, with characters that jump off the page." --Newsday"Every so often there's a new voice that entirely revitalizes the story. . . . It's happening again with Nathan Englander, whose precise, funny, heartbreaking, well-controlled but never contrived stories open a window on a fascinating landscape we might never have known was there. It's the best story collection I've read in ages." --Ann Beattie"His characters are marvelously sympathetic creations. . . . What is most striking about the collection is not the subject matter but Englander's genius for telling a tale. . . . Invite[s] comparison to some of the best storytellers--Gogol, Singer, Kafka and even John Cheever." --Time Out New York

Product Details
ISBN: 9780375704437
ISBN-10: 0375704434
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: March 21st, 2000
Pages: 224
Language: English
Series: Vintage International
ABA Admin Product Details
Data Source: ONIX
Created At: 3/7/2014 08:25am
Last Updated At: 2/20/2021 09:59am