A debut collection traces the experiences of painfully human protagonists from a range of cultures, including a blacklisted Hollywood actor who struggles to connect with his son, an Israeli soldier who comes of age when his brother is injured on their communal farm and a dissenting gallery worker who begins smuggling and curating underground art. - (Baker & Taylor)
Traces the experiences of protagonists from a range of cultures, including a blacklisted Hollywood actor who struggles to connect with his son, and a dissenting gallery worker who begins smuggling and curating underground art. - (Baker & Taylor)
*Longlisted for the National Book Award * A stunning exploration of characters shaped by the forces of history, the debut work of fiction by Molly Antopol, a 2013 National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" Honoree. - (WW Norton)
An absentee father, a former dissident from communist-era Prague, needles his adult daughter for details about her newly commissioned play when he fears it will cast him in an unflattering light. An actor, imprisoned during the Red Scare for playing up his communist leanings to get a part with a leftist film director, is shamed by his act when he reunites with his precocious young son. An Israeli soldier, forced to defend a settlement filled with American religious families, still pines for a chance to discover the United States for himself. A young Israeli journalist, left unemployed after America’s most recent economic crash, questions her life path when she begins dating a middle-aged widower still in mourning for his wife. And in the book’s final story, a tour de force spanning three continents and three generations of women, a young American and her Israeli husband are forced to reconsider their marriage after the death of her dissident art-collecting grandmother.Again and again, Molly Antopol’s deeply sympathetic characters struggle for footing in an uncertain world, hounded by forces beyond their control. Their voices are intimate and powerful and they resonate with searing beauty. Antopol is a superb young talent, and The UnAmericans will long be remembered for its wit, humanity, and heart. - (WW Norton)
In her first story collection, Antopol explores the everyday anxieties and complex past lives of immigrant characters in New York boroughs and Old World homelands, including Kiev, Tel Aviv, and Brooklyn. In "Duck and Cover," a widowed father struggles to keep secret his involvement with the Communist Party in McCarthy-era Los Angeles, while his daughter discovers her sexuality in a neighbor's fall-out shelter. In "The Quietest Man," a former dissident from Czechoslovakia must confront the facts of his estranged daughter's new play, which he selfishly worries will hurt his reputation. In another story, a grandmother in Queens recounts the questionable ethics of a wartime brigade called the Yiddish Underground, common citizens who fought the Nazi occupation of Jewish communities, such as the sizable "lost shtetl" of Antopol, Belarus. In these stories, Antopol depicts with bold strokes and uncanny intelligence the intimate links between family, history, and politics, never failing to capture the grit and hurt of intergenerational confrontation. Honored as one of the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35, Antopol enters American fiction with startling originality and honesty. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.
Library Journal Reviews
As suggested by the six-city tour, the reading group guide, and the extensive marketing campaign, this first collection by Stegner Fellow Antopol is much anticipated, and the foreign rights sales to six countries clinch the deal.
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Library Journal Reviews
In her debut story collection, Antopol looks deeply into the lives of people whose geographies are not easy to define, such as the Israeli journalist who only feels alive when on assignment in Kiev and the California actor who claims more Russian heritage than he actually has, having lived in the United States since he was two years old. Within these compelling narratives, Antopol conveys not only the inner lives of her characters but also the political and social history they carry with them from the sewers of Eastern Europe (an escape route from imminent capture by Nazis) to the Israeli kibbutz to the streets of New York, among other places in the diaspora. VERDICT These rich stories, in many ways reminiscent of the work of Grace Paley (The Little Disturbances of Man), are often sharply funny and always intelligent, and readers will find them immediately appealing. [See Prepub Alert, 8/5/13.]—Sue Russell, Bryn Mawr, PA
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