How This Night Is Different: Stories

Elisa Albert, Author . Free Press $18 (198p) ISBN 978-0-7432-9127-9

Titled to reflect the customary question asked at Passover, these 10 stories by debut writer Albert explore traditional Jewish rituals with youthful, irreverent exuberance as her characters transition into marriage and child-rearing. In "Everything But," dutiful daughter Erin finds herself, after her mother's death, disturbed by the lovelessness of her marriage. In "So Long," Rachel has become "born again" as an Orthodox Jew and resolved to have her head shaved before her marriage, as per custom; the narrator, Rachel's maid of honor, struggles to suppress her sarcastic disbelief. "The Mother Is Always Upset" plays on the familial chaos of ritual circumcision (the bris ): tearful mother Beth cowers in the bedroom, while exhausted new father Mark takes his cue from the sanguine mohel . And Albert, writing as nice Jewish girl Elisa Albert, becomes a cocksure writer determined to have the last word in the hilariously vulgar postmodern final story, "Etta or Bessie or Dora or Rose"—an unabashed autobiographical fan letter to Philip Roth, "the father of us all." (July)

Reviewed on: 04/10/2006
Release date: 06/01/2006
Paperback - 196 pages - 978-0-7432-9128-6
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-4165-3569-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-5113-4092-2
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