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Saving Stanley: The Brickman Storiesby Scott Nadelson
Synopses & Reviews
Scott Nadelson's interrelated short stories are graceful, vivid narratives that bring into sudden focus the spirit and the stubborn resilience of the Brickmans, a Jewish family of four living in suburban New Jersey. The central character, Daniel Brickman, forges obstinately through his own plots and desires as he struggles to balance his sense of identity with his longing to gain acceptance from his family and peers. In "Kosher," Daniel's disdain for his parents' values and lifestyle, for their materialism and need for security, leads him to take a job as a telemarketer for the Robowski Fund for the Disabled, a charity benefiting two people only: Daniel and Helen Robowski. And in "Young Radicals," Daniel gathers research for a thesis on early Soviet history by interviewing his grandfather, now a retiree in Florida, who painted factories and sang Communist work songs in 1920s Leningrad before emigrating to America. This fierce collection provides a graceful telling of the loneliness people carry with them and an unblinking examination of family life and the human instinct for attachment.
"Scott Nadelson playfully introduces us to a fascinating family of characters with sharp and entertaining psychological observations in gracefully beautiful language, reminiscent of young Updike. I wish I could write such sentences. There is a lot of eros and humor here — a perfectly enjoyable book." Josip Novakovich, author of Salvation and Other Disasters and Apricots from Chernobyl
"There's a certain thrill in reading a young writer coming into his own. The nuances of style, the interplay of theme and narrative, the keen and sympathetic eye for character — all rendered new by a fresh voice and talent. Scott Nadelson's stories are bracing, lively, humorous, honest. A splendid debut." Ehud Havazelet, author of Like Never Before and What Is It Then Between Us
"Scott Nadelson's fine first story collection achieves a rare balance between compassionate comedy and an unswerving attention to the dark trials of family life. Watching Daniel Brickman come of age was like watching a high-wire act: I held my breath for him, but felt the sure and steady net of Nadelson's vision all along, keeping this boy, and his whole family, wildly alive." Marjorie Sandor, author of Portrait of My Mother, Who Posed Nude in Wartime and The Night Gardener
"It's thrilling to watch a young talent reach out and grasp the essence of an art form, particularly a form as rich and nuanced as the short story. In Saving Stanley, Scott Nadelson proves, line after line, that he has mastered the discipline and the delicacy required to orchestrate his chosen medium. That he does so with grace and ease, and an eye toward entertaining the reader, is a bonus matched only by the wisdom to be found here, as the members of the Brickman family inflict a series of disappointments on each other even as they try to help each other take their disappointments lightly. Smart, funny, and heartbreaking, Saving Stanley is an uncommonly exciting debut." Tracy Daugherty, author of Five Shades of Shadow and Axeman's Jazz
"These extremely well-written and elegantly wrought stories are rigorous, nuanced explorations of emotional and cultural limbo-states. Saving Stanley is a substantial, serious, and intelligent contribution to contemporary Jewish American writing." David Shields, author of Enough About You: Adventures in Autobiography and A Handbook for Drowning
"The tortuous knots of Scott Nadelson's Brickman family make my toes curl and my breath quicken. Equally powerful with narrative and dialogue, he is a writer in full possession of both his material and his craft." Susan Thames, author of I'll Be Home Late Tonight
This is a stunning debut by a young writer who is just beginning what is sure to be a dazzling career. Nadelson is a talent to follow.
About the Author
Scott Nadelson lives in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches writing at the Art Institute of Portland. His fiction has appeared in American Literary Review, Carve Magazine, and The Best of Carve, Vol. 3. Saving Stanley is his first published collection.
Table of Contents
Saving Stanley 15
With Equals Alone 51
Mr. Mervin 81
Anything You Need 125
Young Radicals 144
Why Not? 167
Hannah of Troy 189
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