Prize-winning novelist Jay Neugeboren's third collection of short stories focuses on Jews in various states of exile and expatriation—strangers in strange lands, far from home. These dozen tales, by an author whose stories have been selected for more than fifty anthologies, including Best American Short Stories and O. Henry Prize Stories, span the twentieth century and vividly capture brief moments in the lives of their characters: a rabbi in a small town in New England struggling to tend to his congregation and himself, retirees who live in Florida but dream of Brooklyn, a boy at a summer camp in upstate New York learning about the Holocaust for the first time, Russians living in Massachusetts with the family who helped them immigrate. In "The Other End of the World," an American soldier who has survived life in a Japanese prisoner of war camp grieves for members of his family murdered in a Nazi death camp, and in "Poppa's Books" a young boy learns to share his father's passion for the rare books that represent the Old World. "This Third Life" tells of a divorced woman who travels across Germany searching for new meaning in her life after her children leave home, while both "His Violin" and "The Golden Years" explore the plight of elderly Jews, displaced from New York City to retirement communities in Florida, who struggle with memory, madness, and mortality.
Set in various times and places, these poignant stories are all tales of personal exile that also illuminate that greater diaspora—geographical, emotional, or spiritual—in which many of us, whether Jews or non-Jews, live.
"A book of Mr. Neugeboren's inimitable, irreplaceable, unforgettable short stories is always an occasion for cheering. Here are people caught in the coils of history and simultaneously captured in the freeze-frame of memory. Their stories are among this fine writer's best achievements: humorous even when the characters are in extremity, moving and tender, made of flexible, lucid language that honors the reader as well as the people on the page. This News is great news."
Frederick Busch, author of Memory of War, Don't Tell Anyone, and War Babies
"Jay Neugeboren's stories are radiant with the author's delight in the vagaries of his eccentric characters, whose disorganized lives and hearts are a poignant reflection of our own. In these bittersweet tales of unexpected losses and gains, Neugeboren shows himself once again a master storyteller at the top his form."
Lynne Sharon Schwartz, author of The Fatigue Artist, Face to Face: A Reader in the World, and Referred Pain and Other Stories
"Jay Neugeboren's News from the New American Diaspora is filled with Jewish angels and demons. From the opening pages, the stories never cease to startle us, and they force us to rethink who we are in this strange new century of ours when all of us are adrift."
Jerome Charyn, author of The Green Lantern and other books
"[Short stories] require conscious craftsmanship and artistic skill. Jay Neugeboren meets and surpasses these essential qualifications as he superbly demonstrates in the dozen short stories that make up this brilliant collection."
The Jewish Advocate