In eight short stories, Nathan Englander grapples with the weight of the past, the relationship between history and the present, and the place of the Holocaust in modern life. Englander's characters wrestle with issues of faith, justice, desire and love, and his stories explore classic themes of sexual longing and ingenuity in the face of adversity.
When two skittish pregnant girls appear on his homestead, solitary orchardist Talmadge — who carefully tends the grove of fruit trees he has cultivated for nearly half a century — vows to save and protect them. The Orchardist evokes a powerful sense of place in the American West, mixing tenderness and violence as Talmadge tries to reconcile the ghosts of his own troubled past and faces the dramatic consequences of his actions.
One night in 1969, Richie Palumbo gets lost while driving home with his family and finds himself in Norumbega — a hidden, remote and gorgeous town at the far edges of Boston's western suburbs. He sees an old house and, without quite knowing why, decides he must have it. The repercussions of Richie's dream to own the house in Norumbega lead to a 40-year odyssey for his family, involving his promiscuous son's unrequited love, his daughter's pursuit of a contemplative life and his wife's spiritual and sexual growth.
In past wars, the U.S. practically dismantled its military after the troops came home. But today, says MSNBC News anchor and writer Rachel Maddow, we find ourselves in a state of almost permanent war. Her book argues that the U.S. military has grown bloated partially because the nation is insulated from the wars its soldiers fight.
Ordained Episcopal priest Lauren F. Winner writes about the spiritual crisis she experienced when her mother died and her marriage unraveled. Still delivers reflections on how murky and gray the spiritual life can be while offering guidance on how to see the light we do encounter more clearly.