The Jew of Home Depot and Oth­er Stories

Max Apple
  • Review
By – February 24, 2012
This col­lec­tion of poignant, very human sto­ries leaves the read­er wish­ing for even more of them. Each sto­ry is a mini­world where cul­tures clash, leav­ing the land­scape with enough cracks for the char­ac­ters to fall right in. Each char­ac­ter is forced to con­front his or her iden­ti­ty; each learns some­thing along the way. Hopes, dis­ap­point­ment, dreams, and despair inhab­it these pages. Char­ac­ter stand-outs include a Chi­nese gym­nast caught between the ancient and mod­ern, an elder­ly grand­moth­er man­ag­ing a liquor store from a booth ten feet off the ground, a Jew­ish busi­ness­man locked in a one-sided bat­tle with his Mus­lim employ­ee, and the care­tak­er of a dis­abled child. These and all the oth­er char­ac­ters are ful­ly devel­oped and aching­ly real as life’s tri­als and chal­lenges unfold in each of their worlds. The title sto­ry, about a Cha­sidic fam­i­ly out of place in Texas, is a par­tic­u­lar­ly dis­turb­ing tale of good and evil that stays with you long after you turn the final page. Apple’s prose is unfail­ing­ly spare and clear, mak­ing this book a worth­while addi­tion to the sto­ry col­lec­tion shelf.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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