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How This Night Is Different: Stories

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  140 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Elisa Albert's debut story collection marks the arrival of an extraordinary new voice in fiction. In "How This Night Is Different," Albert boldly illuminates the struggles of young, disaffected Jews to find spiritual fulfillment. With wit and wisdom, she confronts themes -- self-deprecation, stressful family relationships, sex, mortality -- that have been hallmarks of her ...more
Hardcover, 198 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Free Press (first published 2006)
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Michael Janairo
Jan 04, 2015 Michael Janairo rated it it was amazing
In the title story of Elisa Albert's comic and irreverent debut collection, "How This Night is Different" (Free Press; 208 pages; $18), a young woman brings her boyfriend home to meet the family during Passover and to introduce him to his first seder.

She describes him to her mother as "Kind of like a Jew for Jesus, but minus the Jew part." And to him, she summarizes the meal as "You get constipated, you get sick on bad wine, you talk biblical mythology until everyone nods off in their bone-dry
...more
rachel
Jul 20, 2014 rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, jewish
This collection of short stories may even be better than The Book of Dahlia, which is incredible because I loved The Book of Dahlia. Both emotionally satisfied and filled with envy, I want to write Elisa Albert a creepy love letter -- not unlike the one to Philip Roth that concludes this book.
Leah Wener-Fligner
When I read book jacket quotes like the one from Variety on the edition I read, generally I run screaming. "A dark, witty, and incisive take on modern-day disaffected Jewish youth," screams the cover. Yeah? Go incise yourself, pretentious reviewer. This time around, I must eat my words. How This Night Is Different is WONDERFUL. I agree with some of the other reviews here that it suffers a little bit from same-old-narrator--I read through it four stories at a time and then felt the need for a lit ...more
Rachel
Oct 25, 2008 Rachel rated it really liked it
Elisa Albert's short stories were bitingly sarcastic, funny, and filled to the brim with this postmodern Jewishness of Judaism as experienced by Jews who feel largely out of sync with their heritage and/or life.

Most of the stories revolved around sardonic, pill-popping slightly self-absorbed female characters. Sometimes, their behavior leaned a little too much towards sensationalism for the sake of sensationalism, especially in "Everything But," which struck me as patently unrealistic. Other sto
...more
Carrie
Jun 29, 2009 Carrie rated it did not like it
Shelves: oh-nine, awful-crap
Ugh.
I maybe would have liked this, had I read it in middle or high school. I'm pretty sure I WROTE some of these stories in middle or high school. But you know what? I grew up and realized they were stupid. Apparently I'm much more comfortable with my Judaism than Elisa Albert. The only story I sort of liked was "The Living", just for the fact that I relate to how Shayna feels on large group trips. But even that story felt unfinished, missing something.

Otherwise? I don't need long descriptions
...more
Izzy
Sep 24, 2007 Izzy rated it really liked it
Wait! This isn't the review it appears to be! How This Night Is Different IS an excellent collection of short stories, but the book I really want to talk about is Elisa's new novel, The Book of Dahlia, due out this spring. She's a friend of mine, so I'm obviously completely biased, but I thought the book -- about an underemployed, sardonic twentysomething dying of cancer -- was great: as funny as it was sad, and vice versa. So I'm building advance buzz, as they say (biased, biased buzz). March 2 ...more
Elizabeth
Sep 20, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
I can't say I got much out of the stories. They never felt finished to me.
Robin
Mar 30, 2015 Robin rated it liked it
I wanted to love this book, but i didnt really. It was just ok.
Joanna
Apr 01, 2009 Joanna rated it really liked it
I liked this book, but I think I would have appreciated it more if I had read it before Book of Dahlia. It's hard to choose between giving it 3 or 4 stars. Why isn't there an option for 1/2 stars?
Ross
Feb 15, 2008 Ross rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hot tapdancing Jebus, I loved this book. I think I want to marry Elisa Albert. This is one of the few books that really struck my Jewiness, however small that is.
Amanda
Aug 16, 2007 Amanda rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Oriana Leckert
LOVE LOVE LOVE her. Can tell it's her first book but love her. Jil, you were right, sorry it took me so long to finally read it!
Christeen
Oct 25, 2009 Christeen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I kind of fell in love with her and her ability to make me laugh. Don't skip the letter at the end to Philip Roth.
Jillian
Apr 15, 2007 Jillian rated it really liked it
this book f**king rocks. seriously. it makes me proud of my imprint, which is pretty hard to do.
Caro Buchheim
Jan 12, 2012 Caro Buchheim rated it it was amazing
very enjoyable, smart and universal writing about the female experience. loved it.
Amy
Jul 04, 2010 Amy rated it liked it
short stories centering on Jewish holidays--very funny and irreverent
Jen
Nov 03, 2008 Jen rated it it was amazing
one of my FAVORITE authors.
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ELISA ALBERT, author of The Book of Dahlia and a collection of short stories, has written for NPR, Tin House, Commentary, Salon, and the Rumpus. She grew up in Los Angeles and now lives in upstate New York with her family.
More about Elisa Albert...

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