The Love Song of A. Jerome Minkoff: And Other Stories

Joseph Epstein, Author . Houghton Mifflin Harcourt $24 (260p) ISBN 978-0-618-72195-5

Epstein (Fabulous Small Jews ) delivers a faulty collection of 14 relentlessly similar, uninspired tales. Mostly about Chicago Jews—particularly male intellectual Chicago Jews—these stories meditate on the perceived faults of others while trumpeting the achievements of the narrators (Yale and comfortable tenure appear more than once). This restrictive formula grows old fast, as do the dismissive and stereotypical treatment secondary characters get: an Irish-American who reeks of beer, a feminist who talks “exclusively about herself and the difficulty of her adolescent menstrual cycles,” and Mexican teenagers who “walked by in baggy jeans low on the hips, unlaced gym shoes, and baseball caps worn backwards.” While this could be read as humor, stock characters don’t leave much room for introspection, development, or nuance. The contrived prose and characters reveal Epstein, a successful nonfiction writer, to be out of his element. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/12/2010
Release date: 06/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 260 pages - 978-0-547-52022-3
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-547-48708-3
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