Marian'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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's review
May 08, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: mainstream-fiction
Read from May 08 to 12, 2012

I finished this book and marveled. Looking back at the table of contents, it’s difficult to pick my favorite story. Should it be the first and title story -- “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank”? The story is an example of the dictum that they more particular a story is, the more universal it becomes. The story begins with two couples long separated becoming reacquainted. It comes to a close as they confront each other with a childhood “game”. If there was another holocaust, would your neighbor hide you? The question sounds specific to a Jewish audience but every ethnic group could imagine a similar question.

“Peep Show” is the most surreal of the stories as a family man makes an impulsive trip to a peep show.

“Sister Hills” is a story of an early settlement during Israel’s beginning. It made me look back at the flap to see if Englander is an immigrant himself. It doesn’t cast a glowing eye on the settlers outside the 67 borders but it isn’t a condemnation either.

“The Reader” follows an unnamed and despairing author as he makes his weary way through a book tour of empty stores followed by his one dedicated reader.

In “Free Fruit for Young Widows”, Englander returns to Israel to give us a son’s introduction to the grey world of his father’s generation. Why does he father give free fruit and vegetables not only to young widows but also to the man who beat him senseless when he was a child? Is it possible to hold to one code of honor and respect the man who holds to a different one?

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