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There Are Jews in My House is one of the most striking debuts of recent years. Tracing the lives and aspirations of Russians living in Moscow and Brooklyn, these poignant, sad and funny stories create a luminous new literary world.
In the title story, set during the Second World War, Galina, a gentile, offers refuge to a Jewish friend and her daughter, only to find herself increasingly resentful of their presence in her home. In “Mistress,” a nine-year-old boy, new to America, escorts his grandmother to her weekly doctors’ appointments to interpret her myriad complaints. At the same time, he becomes aware that his grandfather may be involved with another woman. And in “Love Lessons—Mondays, 9 A.M.” a young math teacher assigned to teach a sex education class becomes all too aware that her students are more experienced than she is.
“These finely etched stories glow with the life-giving force of language newly acquired.” —Time Out New York
“Shot through with coolly rendered details of exquisite beauty . . . Relish this small gem and hope for more” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Superbly written tales that continue the tradition of Russian realism. . . . One feels that a season is changing and the future has arrived.” —The Washington Times
“Vapnyar’s ambition, purity of prose and gift for concentrated emotion make this collection a standout—and the first move in what promises to be a long and interesting career” —The Hartford Courant
“A feat of linguistic achievement. Not only is [Vapnyar’s] prose stark and carved in its fresh foreignness but her stories have the quality of memoir, which lends a naturalness to her subjects. . . . You must read these stories or have them read to you.” —Los Angeles Times
“Beautifully wrought tales. . . . Nuanced and deftly written. . . . Superb.” —The Baltimore Sun
“There Are Jews in My House has an exciting flawlessness, like a perfectly cut stone. . . . This book should become one of those slender classics, beloved especially among those who thrill to find the old-fashioned short story made so richly and authentically new.” —O: The Oprah Magazine
“Vapnyar draws an indelible portrait of the land she left behind. . . . [She] conjures a country that is both alluring and oppressive and induces longing and dismay in equal parts.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Richly written. . . . [Vapnyar’s] gift is capturing zig-zag lives, alternate realities, the messy imperfection of people as they struggle to find a path.” —Miami Herald
“Lara Vapnyar is a new American voice, whose stories come from her own background and experiences, and will now be woven into the literary fabric of her new country. We are the richer for it.” —Chicago Jewish Week
“Beautiful. . . . Classically, skillfully written.” —Philadelphia Weekly
“Vapnyar’s handle on the wiles and whimsies of human relationships is remarkable. . . . [These stories] are rife with a humanity that knows no racial or cultural delineations.” —San Diego Union-Tribune
“Sparkling. . . . [Vapnyar’s] writing style is straightforward and intuitive, with understated humor, creating thoroughly engaging stories.” —The Jewish Week
“There is a gentle warmth in Vapnyar’s stories, and a great deal of talent.” —The Charlotte Observer
“Stealthily engrossing, graceful prose. . . . This lovely collection very effectively captures the small moments that tell what it is to be human.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Vapnyar’s sensitive descriptions of Russian life here and abroad make her a writer to watch.” —Dallas Morning News
“Told in a deceptively simple style, these stories open a fascinating window into the nuances of human emotions and the fragility of our relationships.” —Jewish Book World
“Reading the stories in There Are Jews in My House is a bit like what it might have been like to look over Tolstoy’s shoulder while he examined a blade of grass, then another. In Vapnyar’s fiction, details jut, simple and bright, until they pose a world.” —Chicago Tribune