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Fabulous Small Jews

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  132 ratings  ·  19 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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Anthony
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.
Tony
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
Brian
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?"
Pablo
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.
Mindy
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."
Barbara
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.
Alice
A jewel of a book!
Would like to send a copy to six friends and then have a
book group discussion.
Don
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...more
Daniel
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
Irami
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
Chelsey
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
Holly Lichtman
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.
Alan
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
Craig
Epstein is not a master of the short story form--the learned and snarky essay is his forte, but these are pretty good stories.
Margaret
reading these stories was like hanging out with the older men, and a few women, that gather at Jewish events
Renee Thompson
Nice. Just nice. Excerpts from the lives of Jewish men. Don't know why it's made the lists.
Greg
Epsteins essays are great - best in class. THis is a series of his short stories.
Rose Ann
Wonderful short stories.
Arlyne
Delicious!
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