New York-born Fred Skolnik has lived in Israel for 54 years where he is probably best known as the prize-winning editor in chief of the 22-volume second edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica.
But Skolnik has also published several novels, both in his own name and pseudonymously, along with many short stories and essays. He has now produced **Americans and Other Stories, a collection of 26 tales classed as ‘short’ but several of whose prodigious length unwittingly reveal his greatest expertise.
Both the Pushcart Prize nominated All the Lonely People, which runs to about ten thousand words and the five-thousand-plus word Requiem for an Unborn Child are written in a slow, looping, ruminative fashion.
While one is about a spinster’s love for a neighbour’s child and the other is a father’s regret over the abortion of a potential daughter, I suggest they are really the same, too-frequently repeated real-life story: that of hopelessly bereft adults trying to live empty years through subsequent generations.
I wonder what Skolnik thinks of my reaction and what personal experience he has as the grandfather of the twenty-two young people to whom this volume is dedicated.
**Americans and Other Stories is published by Fomite and is available from Amazon on Kindle @ $4.99 and in Paperback @ $16.00.
© Natalie Wood (04 November 2017)