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Joyce Carol Oates
There Are Jews in My House: Stories
by Lara Vapnyar

Cover image   Availability: Not available new from Amazon.com

Edition: Hardcover
Publisher: Pantheon (2003-12-02)
ISBN-10/ISBN-13: 0375422501 / 9780375422508
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 1436815

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A 2004 Vacation Reading (selected by The New York Times)
“This first collection of stories, by a woman who immigrated from the Soviet Union in 1994, chiefly concerns the perceptions of children trying to figure out what adults are up to. They half know and half understand the grown-up world but prefer their own consciousness of exploration and wonder.”

Book description
Innocence rounds the bend to experience in these beautifully shaped stories of Moscow and Brooklyn, which take up the worldview of the young and overlooked. The stunning Second World War story that opens the book is a masterpiece of ambivalence—about the simultaneous generosity and hypocrisy of Galina, a gentile Russian woman who offers safe harbor to a Jewish friend and her daughter during the German occupation. In “Love Lessons—Mondays, 9 A.M.,” a young math teacher is assigned to teach a girls’ sex education class, even though she herself is still awaiting her first kiss. And in “Mistress,” a boy newly arrived in this country bears witness to the intimate details of his grandparents’ new and diverging lives: his grandmother’s doctors’ appointments, where he is charged with translating her myriad complaints into English, and his grandfather’s clandestine courtship of another woman.

Adept at both snapshots and long exposures, Lara Vapnyar, herself a recent immigrant, writes of life’s adventures and possibilities, its disappointments and unexpected turns, with delicate humor, brilliant timing, and striking emotional honesty. She is a writer to relish and to watch.


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