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A.L. Kennedy   For the Relief of Unbearable Urges  
Nathan Englander    
For the Relief of Unbearable Urges: a reading

Nathan Englander: an interview

For the Relief of Unbearable Urges: an excerpt





  Nathan Englander's astonishing debut story collection, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, is the kind of book that sends a chill up an avid reader's spine. Reading through these nine remarkable stories, it's hard to imagine that this wise and compassionate author is just twenty-nine years old. Though set in the tightly-knit world of Orthodox Judaism, the stories are universal, irreverent, and have a classic feel to them. Frequent comparisons to Bernard Malamud and Isaac Bashevis Singer are well-deserved, but Englander clearly has his own distinctive voice, full of exuberance and grace.

In "The Twenty-seventh Man" a Kafka-esque clerical error lands an unknown author in prison with twenty-six famous writers, awaiting Stalin's order for their execution. "The Tumblers," is the fable-like story of a group of Polish Jews who evade certain death at Aushwitz by getting on the wrong train, one filled with circus performers, and transforming themselves into acrobats to save their lives. In stories that span continents and display a wondrous imagination, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges dazzles and delights, heralding the debut of a truly gifted new writer.

In this issue of Bold Type you'll find an interview with Nathan Englander, a short story from For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, and an audio reading of another story by the author.
 
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  Photo of Nathan Englander copyright © Brian Tarr

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