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Secret Anniversaries of the Heart: New and Selected Stories by Lev Raphael
     

Secret Anniversaries of the Heart: New and Selected Stories by Lev Raphael

by Lev Raphael
 

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“The power of Raphael’s stories comes from his passion for telling the truth, however painful.”—Hadassah Magazine

“His characters are voices of reason, observers rather than judges. The prose is poetic, the sex scenes sweat with passion.”—Los Angeles Times

When Lev Raphael published the

Overview

“The power of Raphael’s stories comes from his passion for telling the truth, however painful.”—Hadassah Magazine

“His characters are voices of reason, observers rather than judges. The prose is poetic, the sex scenes sweat with passion.”—Los Angeles Times

When Lev Raphael published the controversial story collection Dancing on Tisha B’av, he broke new ground in the publishing world. Never before in one book had an American writer dealt with the conflicts between homosexuality and traditional Judaism, linked the chilling mind diseases of antisemitism and homophobia, and borne witness not only to the legacy of Holocaust survivors but the suffering and conflicts of their children. Winner of the prestigious Lambda Literary Award, Raphael opened the door to a new kind of American Jewish fiction.

Secret Anniversaries of the Heart unites the best stories from Dancing on Tisha B’av with 12 new stories, including one never before published. Here we encounter tales of antisemitism on the college campus, of self-hatred and body obsession, and of survivor parents whose only response to the Holocaust is to isolate themselves, unconsciously committing a kind of emotional suicide.

In a collection that encompasses over 25 years of his award-winning stories, Lev Raphael proves himself a visionary like James Baldwin and shares Anita Brookner’s gift for dramatizing the pain of seemingly quiet lives in stories that are both passionate and precise.

Lev Raphael is the author of 17 books published in a dozen languages. A winner of the Lambda Literary Award, among many prizes, his short works have appeared in numerous anthologies, including the star-packed Who We Are: On Being (and Not Being) A Jewish American Writer (Schocken/Random House). The author of a popular mystery series, he performs all over the country and hosts a weekly book show on NPR.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Michigan NPR commentator Raphael is the author of Little Miss Evil and other mysteries; he also penned The German Money and other "second generation" fiction centered on the children of Holocaust survivors; coauthored Coming Out of Shame and other nonfiction works on being gay and Jewish; and wrote a memoir, Writing a Jewish Life, also pubbing in January (Reviews, Nov. 28). About half of these 25 stories are new; others appeared in his collection Dancing on Tisha B'Av. In many of them, the children of Holocaust survivors grapple with their parents' silences and disclosures, caught in the eddies of their losses and expectations. Many of the protagonists are gay, considering their Judaism and their sexuality with measures of passion and reluctance. Raphael's language is searching and expansive, but the awkward dance between Old and New World repeats from story to story; while the facts surrounding the tensions change, the characters take on a studied familiarity. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Offering heartfelt, often painful evocations of Jewish and gay identity, this collection is a bittersweet rendering of a complex culture. In "The Tanteh," a writer is cursed by his great aunt for telling her tale too faithfully. Polyglot, European, a figure of faded glamour, she's Jewish in a secular, sophisticated way that's alien to his family's faith, one steeped in Passover Seders and Zionist politics. He considers his writing an act of love; she reads it as betrayal. Raphael (Writing a Jewish Life: Memoirs, 2005, etc.) is expert at conveying tension; each of these 25 stories is rich in ambivalence, and the lives they chronicle are all-too-human-messy, real and fired with uneasy desire. "Betrayed by David Bowie" finds a college-kid narrator, comfortable with his homosexuality, drawn to a Franco Nero lookalike who's ambivalent about his. Their bond is a shared passion for David Bowie, then at the height of his Ziggy Stardust persona. As the years pass, AIDS and the more prosaic post-'70s zeitgeist intervene, leaving the narrator bereft, reading interviews in which Bowie disowns his gender-bending self. In "Welcome to Beth Homo," a Hillel student fantasizes about an all-gay synagogue while dealing with furtive self-loathing. "A New Light" features a reporter at a Jewish newspaper combating a highbrow senior writer's contempt for Yiddish. Conflating graphic sex scenes with Holocaust memories and epiphanies of self-discovery, Raphael writes from a highly distinctive perspective: a compassionate celebrant of souls squeezed by mainstream pressures and fighting for pride. Concerned ultimately with the struggle for love both human and divine, these are searing stories.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780979641541
Publisher:
Leapfrog Press
Publication date:
01/01/2006
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
300
File size:
385 KB

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Meet the Author

Lev Raphael is the author of fifteen books and known internationally as the chronicler of the lives of the children of Holocaust survivors. Winner of the Lambda Literary Award, among many prizes, his short works have appeared in two dozen anthologies. He performs all over the country at Jewish Book Fairs and has a weekly book show on NPR.

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