In her critically acclaimed debut story collection, Elisa Albert boldly illuminates an original cross section of disaffected young Jews. With wit, compassion, and a decidedly iconoclastic twenty-first-century attitude, in prose that is by turns hilarious and harrowing, Albert has created characters searching for acceptance, a happier view of the past, and above all the possibility of a future.
Holidays, family gatherings, and rites of passage provide the backdrop for these ten provocative stories. From the death of a friendship in "So Long" to a sexually frustrated young mother's regression to bat mitzvah -- aged antics in "Everything But," and culminating with the powerful and uproariously apropos finale of "Etta or Bessie or Dora or Rose," How This Night Is Different will excite, charm, and profoundly resonate with anyone who's ever felt ambivalent about his or her faith, culture, or place in the world.
Elisa Albert is the author of After Birth, The Book of Dahlia, the short story collection How This Night Is Different, and the editor of the anthology Freud’s Blind Spot. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Tin House, The New York Times, Post Road, The Guardian, Gulf Coast, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Believer, The Rumpus, Time Magazine, on NPR, and in many anthologies. Albert grew up in Los Angeles and received an MFA from Columbia University, where she was a Lini Mazumdar Fellow. A recipient of the Moment magazine emerging writer award and a finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize, she has received fellowships from The Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Djerassi, Vermont Studio Center, The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies in Holland, the HWK in Germany, and the Amsterdam Writer’s Residency. She lives with her family in upstate New York.
"A dark, witty, and incisive take on modern-day disaffected Jewish youth." -- Variety
"A wonder-inducing blend of sharp humor, religious ambivalence, and caustic wisdom." -- Time Out New York
"What makes How This Night Is Different different is simply the fact that Elisa Albert is a funny and gutsy writer with a knack for locating the absurd poignancy in familiar situations. This is an accomplished, moving, and often risky debut." -- Sam Lipsyte, author of Home Land
"Albert's protagonists are young Americans each imbued with an uncannily sharp voice, each boldly confronting their intricately conflicted lives, each looking on the world with convincing lucidity and reacting with moving joie de vivre." -- San Francisco Chronicle
"Albert employs razor-sharp irony to deftly dissect how contemporary life gets tangled with ancient traditions...outrageous and poignant, dark and funny." -- Hartford Courant