Holly's Reviews > For the Relief of Unbearable Urges: Stories

For the Relief of Unbearable Urges by Nathan Englander
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Nov 19, 2011

really liked it

Refreshingly diverse short story collection from Jewish writer Englander. A very interesting peek into Jewish tradition and the impact that has on living a day-to-day existence, esp in modern American culture. In "Reunion" Marty is locked up in a mental ward after a series of incidents, the most severe resulting in the Torah landing on the floor and 40 days of fasting. In "The Wig" wig-maker Ruchama convinces a man to sell his beautiful hair to her, and both of them become obsessed about the way that hair makes them feel. In "The Gigul of Park Avenue" a secular man has a revelation that he's Jewish in a cab, wreaking havoc on his wife who believes it's a midlife crisis. In "The Last One Way" Gitta, married at 18 years old to a man she doesn't love for 18 years, hires her old matchmaker to arrange her divorce. And in the title story, a pious man who is frustrated by his wife's interminable menstrual cicle gets permission from his rabbi to use a prostitute.

Perfect stories that are both funny and ring true, a difficult combination.
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