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The Unamericans: Storiesby Molly Antopol
Synopses & Reviews
The UnAmericans, a stunning exploration of characters shaped by the forces of history, is the debut work of fiction by Molly Antopol, a 2013 National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" Honoree.
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.
"[Antopol] draws the reader to her deeply flawed characters [with] their keen self-awareness, and their consequent ability to act with a semblance of moral, sometimes even selfless, integrity." Publishers Weekly
"A writer of seismic talent....Not since Robert Stone has a writer so examined the nature of disillusionment and the ways in which newfound hope can crack the cement of failed dreams." Adam Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Orphan Master's Son
"Molly Antopol's stories display that wonderful combination of an original voice with settings that are masterfully rendered. A rich collection, a great read." Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
"Beautiful, funny, fearless, exquisitely crafted, and truly novelistic in scope....It's clear we're in the hands of a master storyteller — a writer with the emotional heft of Nicole Krauss, the intellectual depth of Saul Bellow, and the penetrating wit of Philip Roth. This book isn't simply powerful and important — it's necessary." Jesmyn Ward, National Book Award-winning author of Salvage the Bones
About the Author
Molly Antopol teaches writing at Stanford University, where she was a recent Wallace Stegner Fellow. A recipient of the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 award, she holds an MFA from Columbia University and lives in San Francisco.
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