Brothers. Fathers, and Other Strangers
October 8, 2021
BROTHERS, FATHERS, AND OTHER STRANGERS includes stories about family dysfunction in a not-so-blended family, work, Adolf Hitler’s imagined alternative lives and possible reincarnation, the spirit of Kurt Cobain, a green angel giving an aging alcoholic man a second chance at redemption, men struggling to find some meaning in their lives, and more. In all there are forty stories and flash fiction pieces in this collection, most of which have been published in notable literary journals.
Mitchell Waldman's new story collection, BROTHERS, FATHERS, AND OTHER STRANGERS, is now available! BROTHERS deals with the subjects of family dysfunction, Adolf Hitler, work, the spirit of Kurt Cobain, an angel giving an aging alcoholic a second chance, and men seeking meaning in their lives. Of the work readers have said "Waldman has crafted a nuanced and engaging collection. His stories set us on an emotional tightrope, daring us to forgo a safety net, while seducing us to look down and discover who we are. Sometimes poignantly devastating, and other times savagely funny, he guides us through family trauma, corporate America, and faithful understanding to remind us if we can be less of a stranger to the world, maybe we can be less of a stranger to ourselves." (Josh Penzone, author of The Court of Vintage Woods: Linked Stories). Readers have also said that "Brothers, Fathers, and Other Strangers is remarkable for its scope, honesty, imagination, social sensitivity, and moral concern." (Robert Wexelblatt, author of The Thirteenth Studebaker, Hsi-wei Tales, etc.) And it has been said that "[I]n Brothers, Fathers, and Other Strangers, Waldman explores masculinity, but not stereotypical masculinity. In these stories, you will see men battling their memories and emotions as they attempt to come to grips with their pasts and make a way for their lives. Waldman sets his work in reality with a dash of fantasy and the occasional twist ending. Waldman is doing something special in the short story form, and his stories will entertain, enlighten, and elate." (Hardy Jones, author of Resurrection of Childhood: A Memoir, and Every Bitter Thing).
Robert Wexelblatt expanded on BROTHERS, with the following review: "Mitchell Waldman’s latest collection comes in three parts. First, there are stories of a blended family narrated by a stepbrother and stepson with either the urgency of a teen or the retrospection of an adult. They probe a fraught relationship with a stepbrother, detachment from a stepfather, and disengagement from a biological father. The narrator’s mother provides only a small measure of consolation from the bleakness. Taken together, these stories constitute an episodic novella working out permutations of awkwardness, disappointment, baffled love, and open resentment. Waldman persuasively renders the insecurities of his narrator and the pain of blended families that fail to blend. The style here is realistic while the second section leaves realism for a series of alternative biographies of Adolf Hitler—as an immigrant in Brooklyn, a local plumber, gardening with Fraulein Braun. In one story, Hitler occupies the consciousness of a Jewish dentist as he did Poland and France. Part Three is focused on the quiet desperation of economically marginalized, socially alienated, emotionally stunted males. Two main themes of this section are bad jobs and theodicy, the implacable actual and the dubious supernatural. The stories delve into the feelings and thoughts of alienated men, the kind of American males fulminating with resentment and teetering on the cusp of despair who have had much to do with our recent politics. Brothers, Fathers, and Other Strangers is remarkable for its scope, honesty, imagination, social sensitivity, and moral concern."
For more information on the book, go to http://mitchwaldman.homestead.com/Brothers--Fathers--and-Other-Strangers.html