"Noa's decision to stop buying kosher meat, without letting her husband Noah know, was, on the face of it, a sudden impulse. One afternoon, on her way home from the park, she passed the butcher shop near her house, as she did almost every day. She had been thinking of the effort involved in making a special trip to her annoyingly talkative, nosy, and rude kosher butcher, the time it would take, the people she would have to "bump into" while "choosing" her usual cuts of lamb, chicken, and turkey (beef was no longer on the menu). The thought of it made her sick. Here, on the other hand, was a rosy-cheeked, clean shaven JOE McELLIGOTT (as the red-and-white lettering above the shop's awning cheerfully announced) who displayed various pink sections of dead pigs in his window with such pride and delight that it almost made Noa's mouth water."
(Reviewed by Judi Clark OCT 05, 1999)
This collection of twelve humorous short stories is mostly about women coping in foreign countries with foreign husbands. The book begins with the story of Noa who marries Noah after meeting him at a Tel Aviv disco. The mysteries of this man that so attracted her to him, disappear as she learns his language. Her impulsive action to start serving him non-kosher meat brings about a startling result.
Some of the other stories include one in which a Russian family who migrates to Canada assumed to be out of the mother's embarrassment (Black Train), an intelligent Russian mail-order bride who finds herself married to a less than ambitious butler in London (Peacocks), an unmarried American woman giving birth at Catholic hospital (Michael Farmer's Baby) and a woman who uses a technique learned from her grandmother to entice a man to meet her (Inhaling New York). The book ends with another story about Noa, this time on holiday in Israel.
These stories cross the borders of England, Israel, Germany, Russia, Canada and America. They are unforgettably original, smart and each has a surprising punchline like ending. One can't help but notice that it is not only the country which is foreign to many of these woman but the notion of being married as well. For me, the biggest surprise is the wholesome resolutions that the majority of these women (and men) come up with.
I enjoyed these stories because they are foreign, clever and well written. Although I admit that I felt the stories ended a little too suddenly, leaving me wanting to know more about these people and what happens after the story ends. Maybe her first full length novel will satisfy this need.
- Amazon readers' rating: from 8 reviews
Read an excerpt from Foreign Brides at MostlyFiction.com
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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)
- Foreign Brides (1999)
- The Nose (2001)
Edited by Elena Lappin:
- Jewish Voices, German Words: Growing Up Jewish in Postwar Germany and Austria (1994)
- Daylight in Nightclub Inferno: Czech Fiction from the Post-Hundera Generation (1997)
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