^E-PUB ⇝ The Jew of Home Depot and Other Stories (Johns Hopkins: Poetry and Fiction) ⇪ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free

Max Apple s short stories are part of the long list of Jewish American works in the genre, and a very late entry His predecessors and contemporaries are as distinguished as possible Singer, Bellow, Malamud, Roth, Ozick, Del Schwartz, Wil Eisner recently, Nathan Englander, Steve Stern, Ben Katchor Apple differs in that the others deal with Jewish history, patterns of thought, Biblical, historical and spiritual allusions, and a set of anxieties and beliefs which make their work recognizably part of something with spiritual implications that a people have had in common for a thousands of years Apple s work has a looser allegiance to all that, but are in the tradition nonetheless They focus on the inevitability, actually the comedy, of assimilation As for comedy, there are as excellent as Steve Stern s and Harry Golden s.Not all have Jewish characters His opening story concerns a Chinese family, living in Texas after escaping the bloodbath of Vietnam why is it also war and vengeance , where the American strategy for defeating the Chines Communists was to kill as many rural Vietnamese as possible Westland, Napalm The Chinese, not incidentally, have long been known as the Jews of the far east for their adaptability as immigrants Li En s folks live in Houston, and root for the Rockets and their great star, Yao Ming Their daughter is also very tall and athletic She specializes in trampoline, is 26 and available, and wants to meet Yao She scores a ticket to a sold out game slip me 75 and you arrive After, she awaits with others for the players to leave the stadium Meanwhile, a friendly sister groupie, Moochie, dubs her Yao s chick the story s title Yao has ducked out another exit Li En imagines his mother rubbing his sore shoulder when he gets home Li En imagines could do that, and he wouldn t even have to sit down But she does meet Turbo, who uses a trampoline during time outs to dunk, dressed in a blue and silver getup She shows him her moves Break through. When I was In high school I read The Oranging of America 1979 or 1980 in an English class with a great teacher Mr Brock After that class I attended college where the author was on faculty, and so read pretty much whatever he wrote As time flies by I lost track of things and was pleased to see The Jew of Home Depot in The Free Library of Philadelphia As I finished each story I was reminded about his elegant style of delivering the ending with great equivocation. Sue Russell Library Journal quoting myselfdo I need permission Apple s new story collection, his third after an absence of 20 years from the genre, sets up variations on the stranger in a strange land theme The stranger is often a Diaspora Jew, and the strange land could be Buenos Aires, Cleveland, or a carwash in Las Vegas In the title story, the strange land is Marshall, TX, where dying 80 year old Jerome Baumgarten, a retail giant and acquaintance of Wal Mart magnate Sam Walton, orders himself from Brooklyn a bunch of real Jews, I ll pay their way and make it worth their while In this story and others, the characters are well drawn rather than caricatures out of Central Casting, and the transformation each encompasses is both surprising and well earned In a pair of memorable stories, Strawberry Shortcake and Adventures in Dementia, the strange land is the country of advanced Alzheimer s, where the humor is both unexpected and familiar to any adult child who has gained entry by force of circumstance into this chaotic territory Readers will find much to admire, along with a respite from the typical geography of the American short story With Apple s stories, we know we re a long way from either the Carver trailer park or the Cheever suburb, and that s a welcome place to be Recommended for public and university libraries. I love Max Apple his novel The Propheteers in particular but I struggled with this collection of stories Apple, like Donald Barthelme or George Saunders, is usually fairly adept at capturing and reveling in absurdity, but in many of these stories, the absurd part is just tacked on at the end, and a story that seemed to be about one thing becomes something else in the last sentence I m all for the element of surprise, but I found myself rereading some of these stories and trying to figure out if I had missed something that made me fail to make the last sentence leap My ultimate, somewhat sad conclusion I don t think I missed anything If you re interested in Max Apple and you really should be, especially if you like Barthelme, Saunders, or Robert Coover you may want to start with either The Oranging of America or Free Agents, both collections of stories, or the fantastic Propheteers Save The Jew of Home Depot for later, and enjoy the thrill of Apple s words and perspective without getting too hung up on those weirdly abrupt endings. A surprise of a collection for me the stories are spare, startling in their humor a man takes his mother to a hypnotistwho uses the same tape for dogs and people , and perfectly formed I especially loved Strawberry Shortcake and Adventures in Dementia, both about a woman with Alzheimer s and her son Best read slowly, a story a day. I got this recommendation from Donald Barthlemle s reading list It was pretty okay, nothing really spectacular The stories range from passable to pretty good, with a sort of similar structure in each one, usually ending on the moment of choice for the protagonist That structure got pretty boring after a while tbh. Character driven short stories that read as real, until they suddenly don t Too often I was left wondering why the story ended and what was the point I don t need everything tied up, but most of the stories are only loose ends Fine, obviously, but not ideal IMHO. Interesting stories having to do mostly with being Jewish. 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