Out of the Bronx: The Joel Sachs Stories

Jerome Kass, Author
Jerome Kass. Asahina & Wallace (www.asahinaandwallace.com), $14 trade paper (246p) ISBN 978-1-940412-06-1
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Screenwriter Kass's fiction debut is a set of interlinked stories focusing on Joel Sachs, the middle child in a dysfunctional, working-class Bronx family. The reader follows Joel from his childhood growing up in the 1940s and ‘50s, to adulthood as he migrates to Manhattan to become an English teacher, marries his childhood crush, and finally reaches old age. With focus ranging from the lighthearted tribulations of youth (Joel struggles to give up a chocolate addiction) to more momentous obstacles (his father's gambling problem, his mother's infidelity, his wife's miscarriage), the author's gentle but often racy humor balances each tale. Kass is at his best when it comes to dialogue; the back-and-forth exchanges between family members are spot on. Characters gain dimension through these interactions and as a result the reader's ability to connect with Joel grows with each story. Kass successfully creates a tender and relatable portrait of family. (Mar.)
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