Jamie Bradway's Reviews > What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander
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May 03, 12

Read from April 27 to May 01, 2012

This is my first Englander and I am impressed. He demonstrates great range in these eight stories, from the blazing to the subtle, the good and the bad. Where he's best is hitting the solid middle gray stuff - where you don't know who to root for, whether the actor is in the right or the wrong, whether you like the person for what he's trying to do or if he's necessarily good or if he's just interesting.

WWTAWWTAAF is one of the books to hold up as a reason we ought to read at all. Englander presents multiple perspectives that are foreign to my own, but does so in such a humanizing way as to broaden my own. The characters occupy a space and are formed by experiences that necessarily lead to a response I could not have expected from myself. I put the book down feeling like I understood the world and its characters just a little bit better.

[I hope we get to type WWTAWWTAAF a lot over the coming year.]
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04/27/2012 page 25
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Kim (new)

Kim How's this compare with What We Talk About When We Talk About Love? Have you read it? I read an Englander collection years ago. His first, I think. I liked it quite a lot.


Jamie Bradway Kim wrote: "How's this compare with What We Talk About When We Talk About Love? Have you read it? I read an Englander collection years ago. His first, I think. I liked it quite a lot."

I've read some Carver, but not that one. Englander seems much less boozy but is capable of writing in the same kind of spare language as Carver, favoring character development over any sort of lyrical flourish. There is a line in one story that reads something like 'Babel's broken bloodied bird lay at his feet' that stood out a little awkwardly after I'd decided that Englander wasn't trying to woo me with wordplay. But that was unusual for this book.

Maybe I should have read WWTAWWTAL before WWTAWWTAAF. I'll put it on the list.


message 3: by Ed (new)

Ed Your rating/review has pushed this up my TBR pile (not that means a whole lot). *Almost* read it next as there was an Anne Frank reference in the book I just finished + it being on that ToB "watch list" for next year, but wasn't quite there. But have to love that title and haven't read a short story collection in a while. Read the Carver collection a looong time ago (college?)... and btw, very impressed with you taking on literary behemoths. Read "Moby" in high school, will follow your progress on "Middlemarch"


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