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Fabulous Small Jews

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  172 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
In Fabulous Small Jews, the best-selling author Joseph Epstein has produced eighteen charming, magical, and finely detailed stories. They are populated by lawyers, professors, scrap-iron dealers, dry cleaners, all men of a certain age who feel themselves adrift in the radically changed values of the day. Epstein's richly drawn characters are at various crossroads and turni ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 6th 2004 by Mariner Books (first published 2003)
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Jul 21, 2013 Brian rated it it was amazing
FINALLY!!! A great book of short stories each of which has the strength to stand on its own. The theme is the Jewish American experience: parental expectations, vagaries of luck, guilt, drive, true measures of success or meaningfulness. Laughs, tears, fears: it moved me enough to say this- READ THIS BOOK!!! Each story is powerful and polished. The criticism by others is that nothing new is explored. BAH, HUMBUG!!! Nothing new has been explored since the Greek tragedies. "Nu? What's to explore?"
Mar 13, 2010 Anthony rated it liked it
This book has a lovely title and was bought for me by my wife for my birthday as she has the blessing to be married to one of the subjects of this book. I am so delighted that she bought it for me as something of such apparent sectarian interest would rather put me off than stimulate my interest. In fact the book is a series of short stories, beautfully observed, that tell of unsuspecting heroics from unprepossesing raw material. I will say no more - but just read it and laugh and cry with me.
Jan 21, 2010 Tony rated it really liked it
Epstein, Joseph. FABULOUS SMALL JEWS. (2003). ****. Epstein is a well-known writer in the chicago area and has amassed a clan of fans across the country over the period of his writing career. This was his 15th book, and his second collection of short stories. The unifying theme of the eighteen short stories in this book is the Jewishness of one or more of the principal characters. They all tend to be secular Jews who grew up in Chicago, in neighborhoods that fostered their hard-working, immigran ...more
May 14, 2012 Pablo rated it liked it
For the most part, this book makes me want to shoot myself in the face. It's well written, though there's nothing in Epstein's style that stands out; no flourishes, no genius, just straight-forward story telling. Sadly, these stories feel redundant - old men who've abandoned their families in some way or another, and I couldn't helped but feel bogged down in their self-made misery.
May 31, 2010 Mindy rated it really liked it
I really liked this collection of short stories. I was drawn in to each character and loved how each story left you with the main character either making or living with a major life decision. My favorites were "Artie Glick in a Family Way," "Don Juan Zimmerman," "A Loss for Words," and "Uncle Jack."
Aug 12, 2015 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
A lovely read. A group of short stories about random, regular people and their time in this world. Although Jewish in theme,many of these stories represent the immigrant experience and the American middle class. Some are specifically Jewish and give insight into life after WWII.
Sep 20, 2009 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely writing and astonishing insight into the characters. I just kept thinking how "true" it all was as I read this group of fictional stories. Nice work, Mr. Epstein. I will read some more.
Feb 03, 2010 Alice rated it really liked it
A jewel of a book!
Would like to send a copy to six friends and then have a
book group discussion.
Sep 04, 2016 david rated it liked it
The sequel, Fabulous Tall Jews, is three pages long. A quick read.
Jan 09, 2013 Don rated it liked it
This is a collection of short stories, mostly about Jewish men in their 50's or older. Most of them are single--either widowed,divorced or (most often) never married). All of the stories are either set in Chicago or have some other connection to Chicago. The theme in most of these stories is the attempt of the main character to establish a connection to another person or the absence of connections for that character.

I thought the stories were, for the most part, pretty good but certainly not gre
There's a certain sameness to the short stories in "Fabulous Small Jews," almost all of which are about aging, lonely, Jewish men living in Chicago. It's not just the subject matter that's the same, but even certain turns of phrase -- one in particular comes to mind, about a magazine that has more potential contributors than readers -- come up more than once. That's not to say it's a bad book -- it's well-written, and some of the stories are quite effective on an emotional level -- but it should ...more
Jan 27, 2008 Irami added it
I picked up this collection of short stories on the strength Epstein's book on Snobbery and was delighted. Fabulous Small Jews is a collection of 18 short stories, all set in Chicago. The stories give one a sense of the city and its people, delivered with charm and heart. Don't let the title fool you, it's not one of those over-written precious Jewish books like everything Chabon has written after Kavalier and Clay. Epstein's people work for a living. They wrestle with real problems, and they gr ...more
Jul 25, 2008 Chelsey rated it liked it
This was another one of those free books I got from a rack outside of some bookstore in Nashville. I thought this book was about absolutely nothing I could relate to - it's a collection of short stories, all about Jewish, retirement-aged men in Chicago. But that's the beautiful thing about literature - certain themes are universal. In this book, those universal themes were loneliness, longing, fear of death, and the idea of what kind of "legacy" we leave behind. I recommend it - even if you're n ...more
Michael Baranowski
Jun 11, 2016 Michael Baranowski rated it really liked it
Not exactly a short story cycle, but all of the carefully crafted stories in this collection do, in fact, feature small Jews (in some cases, their fabulousness is a matter of debate). Epstein will never be a household name (but then again, what contemporary short story writer is?) but if you like the sort of thing he does - well-constructed, quiet, and often keenly observant stories - you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who does it better.
Holly Lichtman
Mar 05, 2013 Holly Lichtman rated it it was amazing
Loved the stories in this compilation of short stories. A few of the stories had older men as protaganists and I loved these stories the most. Could relate to the Chicago locations and the culture of the characters. The author drew upon emotion without being overly emotional. I might re-read some of the stories since I enjoyed them so much.
Feb 04, 2011 Margaret rated it really liked it
reading these stories was like hanging out with the older men, and a few women, that gather at Jewish events
Sep 04, 2009 Alan rated it really liked it
A very interesting collection of short stories. Don't be put off by the first few; strangely they're the weakest of the bunch. Ultimately very satisfying and prescient
Apr 05, 2016 Annabelle rated it really liked it
Thanks, Sir Montes for introducing me to these spontaneous, unassuming snippets of life as choreographed by Mr. Joseph Epstein!
Sep 25, 2008 Craig rated it really liked it
Epstein is not a master of the short story form--the learned and snarky essay is his forte, but these are pretty good stories.
Graham Polando
Graham Polando rated it really liked it
Jan 19, 2013
Dan Lenz
Dan Lenz rated it it was amazing
Aug 03, 2007
Dani Meier
Dani Meier rated it did not like it
Mar 04, 2007
Patricia Geller
Patricia Geller rated it it was amazing
Jul 27, 2010
Charles rated it really liked it
Apr 05, 2013
miriam rated it liked it
Mar 05, 2007
Rebecca rated it really liked it
Sep 06, 2009
Ben rated it liked it
Jan 11, 2014
Marilyn Weiser
Marilyn Weiser rated it really liked it
Jan 26, 2015
Sam rated it it was amazing
Sep 27, 2011
Mark McGowan
Mark McGowan rated it it was amazing
Aug 17, 2016
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