Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The UnAmericans - Molly Antopol

In this auspicious debut, Molly Antopol cuts a wide swath through the fabric of time and place, exploring people from different cultures who are all painfully human in their joys, desires, tragedies, and heartaches. An actor, phased out of Hollywood for his Communist ties during McCarthyism, tries to share a meaningful moment with his son. An Israeli soldier comes of age when his brother is maimed on their communal farm. A gallerist, swept up by the 1970s dissident art movement, begins smuggling paintings out of Moscow and curating underground shows in her Jerusalem home. This is a rare collection as accomplished at capturing our soaring triumphs as it is our crippling defeats--a hopeful reminder that we are all closer and more capable than we sometimes feel.
The premise of this book was really fascinating to me and Antopol was recognized as a writer to watch.  What I didn't realize until I started to read this book, that the book was a collection of short stories.  These stories all have a shared theme of an immigrant making their way in a new country, but the stories don't relate to each other.  At times, it was hard to switch and relate to new characters every 10 pages or so.

That aside, Antopol captures the immigrant and even second-generation immigrant life really well.  Each story ends with a small twist that usually I didn't see coming. The prose is just beautifully written and draws the reader in.  I highly recommend this book!