Verklempt by Peter SichrovskyVerklempt by Peter Sichrovsky


byPeter SichrovskyTranslated byJohn HowardForeword byAri Roth

Hardcover | January 22, 2016

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Verklempt', Yiddish slang, means 'choked with emotion.' In his latest collection of stories, internationally best-selling author Peter Sichrovsky aggressively dismantles post-Holocaust Jewish identity. These are love stories where love is a bitter pill, a joke, a missed chance at happiness, a secret, a ghost, or a longing to be with a person one cannot even remember. Sichrovsky writes without embellishment, spare outlines of characters that feel familiar, and infuses them with dark humor and tragedy. With characteristic inquisitiveness and provocation, Sichrovsky delivers a delightful collection that entertains and inspires us to tears, laughter, revelations. Darkly humorous, absurd, sometimes tragic and erotic.Foreword by award-winning playwright Ari Roth.Stories, among others:In Prague," an adolescent Jewish boy struggles when his Communist parents renounce their affiliations upon Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia - just as he is about to land a date at the local Communist club."The Love Schnorrer" follows a hapless, depressed man leaving his wife and children to secretly emigrate with a Jewish partner, but he is deceived by this new woman, who he most thought he could trust.In "The Sirens" a young couple in Israel - he a native Brooklynite and she an Israeli-born doctor - struggle to keep their marriage and family together under Saddam Hussein's latest rocket attack."Berlin," "Holiday," and "Pig's Blood" have an autobiographical aspect. Interviews, interrogations, and captive audiences all reveal aspects of the author's curious career and iconoclastic personality.In "Clearance Sale" a Jewish man married to the wrong woman for years - she's German, with Nazi-sympathizing parents - consummates a brief affair with his Jewish secretary on a teddy bear, but only by passing backward through his life to a point of self-annihilation."The Aunt" is a raunchy romp through an old people's home, where the protagonist's Aunt Martha is forced to share a room with an old Nazi."Coffin Birth" finds the wealthy businessman and Holocaust survivor Herr Bernstein only able to reconcile his seventieth birthday with the conception that he will have an heir - by any means necessary - when he learns his daughter is a lesbian.Somewhere in every story there is a real person. These stories are based on facts. But they are not documentations. They reflect hopes, fears and indifference. Every story is true, as true as a story can be. - Author's Preface to the English Edition"
Playwright and theatrical producerAri Roth is the Artistic Director of Mosaic Theater Company in Washington DC. He is a two-time NEA playwriting grant award-winner, has received four commissions from the Foundation for Jewish Culture and is two-time recipient of the Avery Hopwood Award.John Howard, an American who lived in Berlin for m...
Title:VerklemptFormat:HardcoverDimensions:200 pages, 7 × 5 × 0.98 inPublished:January 22, 2016Publisher:DoppelHouse PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0983254036

ISBN - 13:9780983254034

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Editorial Reviews

A longtime journalist and politician, Sichrovsky writes with a crisp prose that makes his everyday characters real, with a touch of humor and subtle points about what being Jewish means today. This is a strong collection. ... The pieces here are memorable and diverse, making Verklempt an excellent English-language introduction to the author's fiction. -Foreword ReviewsMoving and engaging... . [Sichrovsky] set[s] up ... intriguing narratives and metaphors. -Asymptote JournalA touching, thoughtful, and powerful read; Sichrovsky's insights into people's secrets, regrets, and consciences are artfully divulged. Verklempt certainly lives up to its title. -Jewish Book WorldJohn Howard's translation is clear, clean, and straightforward. His word choices are simple and direct, resisting the temptation for sentimentality that such subject matter holds. I was especially impressed by the way he conveyed the different patterns of speech that characterize people of different ages and geographical descents. There is no confusing his elderly Austrian aunt with his Brooklynite Jewish mother. -Yardenne Greenspan, Asymptote JournalIntense existential stories with uplifting conclusions about people, torn by past conflicts and histories, who are coming to terms with the flow of everyday life through fulfillment of their desires. -Ivan Margolius, author of Reflections of Prague: Journeys Through the 20th Century