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 the short story collection How This Night is Different and the novel The Book of Dahlia. She has taught creative writing at Columbia University and is currently Writer-in-Residence at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Holland.
"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