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For the Relief of Unbearable Urges: Stories Paperback – Mar 21 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (March 21 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375704434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375704437
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 13.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #214,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3.9 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
Englander has managed to string together a wonderful collection of short stories, unlike any that I have read before. Each story pulls you in of its own right and keeps you captivated until the end. Stories such as, "The Wig" and the title's namesake, bring you into the life of someone you would never have otherwise met. The characters are so vivid that they could be sitting right next to you; Englander doesn't just describe them, he brings them to life. Ruchama, from "The Wig," is described as having six children and a chin for each of them. Englander may not be a woman but he is able to write from the point of view of one with incredible accuracy. Being Catholic myself, I learned a lot about Jewish customs from "The Gilgul of Park Avenue" where a complacent Christian suddenly decides he is Jewish while riding in a taxi cab. Englander has created a terrific work of art in each of his short stories and I would highly recommend this to almost anyone.
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By A Customer on Nov. 10 2003
Format: Paperback
The Relief of Unbearable Urges was a witty collection of humanistic Jewish stories. Although not a Jew myself, I found each story humorous and full of wise human observation. In each selection, you were able to connect with the characters and relate to them. Each short story dealt with an important aspect of life in a somewhat comical venue. Although most of the topics in the selections were of a serious matter, the way in which Englander wrote and manipulated the characters made reading the stories quite enjoyable. I would recommend this book to all, not matter what religion ,because in the end ,everyone has problems.
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By A Customer on Nov. 10 2003
Format: Paperback
It is always nice to be able to learn something new through reading, and not through lectures. I knew absolutely nothing about the Jewish religion until now. Englander has a way of telling a story with significant meaning. I was able to enjoy a good book, and learn at the same time. The short stories are so deatailed and descriptive that you are able to play the scene in your head like if you were watching a movie. It is not one of those books in which you question yourself about the reality of the stories. The stories are realistic and portray the elements of the religion. A big plus about this book is the easy reading. The context is easy to understand. It is one in which is comprehendable and depicts real life situations. You are able to relate to the stories in one way or another.
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By A Customer on Nov. 9 2003
Format: Paperback
For the Relief of Unbearable Urges is an excellent book. It's a collection of nine stories, unconnected to one another. Nathan Englander takes ordinary life situations and creates funny, shocking stories around them. The stories are interesting to read. The characters endure some almost unbelievable problems, which captivated me, so that I could not wait to find out what happens in the end. In the short story "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges" within the book of the same name, a Jewish man's wife refuses to have sex with him. The man goes to see his Rabbi, to find out what he should do. The Rabbi gives him such an unbelievable recommendation, sending him to see a prostitute, which ends up leaving him with problems even worse than he had before. This book supplies with a lot to think and talk about. I highly recommend For the Relief of Unbearable Urges. It is truly an enjoyable book to read.
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Format: Paperback
Nathan Englander's "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges" contained some of the better short stories I have ever read. One story in particular stands out in my mind: "The Gilgul of Park Avenue." This is the story of a man who suddenly finds religion and how he and his family handle the sudden changes. It is almost comical to watch the main character try to learn more about the religion he now finds himself immersed in, while attempting to maintain harmony with his wife, shrink, rabbi, and himself. The story was both funny and thought provoking and I highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
Nathan Englander is a creative, intelligent writer whose stories range from profound to unfortunately predictable. There are a variety of short stories in For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, all dealing with the common thread of the Jewish religion. The most interesting in my opinion is "The Twenty-Seventh Man," which includes some very raw emotions from its central characters. Although the conclusion is fairly predictable, the conversations between the four Jewish writers during Stalin's reign in the USSR. are quite powerful and significant. "The Wig" is less predictable, but lacks some of the zest of the prior story, but certainly makes up for it in craziness. Based upon the common idea that you don't really appreciate what you have until it is gone, the story follows around a woman in search of the perfect hair that she once had. This story opens up many people's eyes to what it would be like to live the life of the main character, Ruchama. While I never thought that I didn't understand her, I never really felt that I knew what made her tick either. The characters in "The Gilgul of Park Avenue"are far more developed, yet seemed to be less relatable. I just find it a story that is hard to believe and therefore couldn't understand the main character, Charles. His sudden epiphany in a NYC taxicab is quite difficult to relate to especially as a New Yorker. The story than becomes more believable, but Charles becomes more and more distracting. The title story was by far the most appealing and at the same time the most absurd. "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges" centers around a couple who are having marital problems and then leads to the husband making some very bad choices. I was intrigued by the husband's lack of common sense as well as the Rabbi's incredibly insensitive and unintelligent advice. Although some of the stories stand out in a bright shining light, many are dull and not worth reading.
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