Advance Praise for Prodigal Children in the House of G-d: Stories
Yermiyahu Ahron Taub’s collection, Prodigal Children in the House of G-d, is cleaved down the middle—five stories of daughters, five of sons—then sewn together by the stories themselves, which intertwine in surprising and delightful ways as characters jump from story to story and get bruised or healed in the process. Taub is a brave, exacting, and large-hearted writer who cares deeply about his characters as they question the lives they have inherited or chosen, and he passes no judgment on saints and sinners alike. Whether their ghetto is ultra-Orthodox, gay or small-town America, Taub’s characters are on quests that stretch over lifetimes and are riveting to watch.
—Evan Fallenberg, author of The Parting Gift
Not all poets can also write prose, but Yermiyahu Ahron Taub certainly can. In a mere dozen pages or so, his story “Lettering and the Art of Living” succeeds in capturing a woman’s entire lifetime, and by evoking many of her memories, feelings, and even her historical context, he awards dignity to this humble individual’s solitary, not fully-lived life. “Lettering and the Art of Living,” infused with a poet’s sensibility and sensitivity is an accomplished and moving story.”
—Nora Gold, author of The Dead Man, Fields of Exile, andMarrow; and Editor of Jewish Fiction .net
Each story in Yermiyahu Ahron Taub’s Prodigal Children in the House of G-drenders an elegant portrait of a lonely soul confronting demands of ultra-Orthodox or other conservative tradition. Simmering with inner resistance, these characters—lesbian, hetero, gay—struggle to shape their birthrights on their own terms. Taub offers a wealth of sensitive insights into minds and hearts rarely depicted on the page.
—Daniel M. Jaffe, author of The Genealogy of Understanding and Jewish Gentle and Other Stories of Gay-Jewish Living
Taub’s story collection addresses the gaps in understanding and faith between parents and children in a vivid, tender, and bittersweet way. People, mostly young, find themselves suddenly at odds with their previous reality, often through no fault of their own, suffering the painful fallout from what Heinrich von Kleist called “the imperfection inherent in the order of the world.” And yet Taub’s characters bring a quiet courage to their situations: the mother of a banished gay son reconnects with him before his death, a girl whose rabbi father has viciously dismembered her Barbies is comforted by her brother, a young girl dreams the impossible dream of becoming a scholar of the Torah. These stories are grounded in fine detail from the fussy furnishings of a boarding house to a polka-dotted half-veil hat that begins a deep friendship. This collection is at once elegiac and edgy, wise and witty, and I am certain this will be the most rewarding story collection I will read this year.
—Margaret Meyers, author of Dislocation
Prodigal Children in the House of G-dis a beautifully written, finely detailed, big-hearted, generous, intimate story collection full of fascinating daughters and sons who will stay with this reader for a long time to come. Make yourself a big pot of tea, sink down into a comfortable chair, and turn off all your devices. This is a book to spend time with, pay attention to, savor, and enjoy.
—Lesléa Newman, author of A Letter to Harvey Milk
The prodigal children in Yermiyahu Ahron Taub’s elegant and lovely new collection are each—to paraphrase a famous Talmudic dictum—a fully individual and necessary world. They are also worlds in exile, finding dignity in often modest but gratefully free lives achieved at enormous cost. As we come to know more and more of them, they form a universe that moves us to the core. Though Taub’s background may make us assume the influence of the great Yiddish writers, his characters seem more like those in the works of Mavis Gallant or Virginia Woolf had they been born into a different tradition.
—Aryeh Lev Stollman, author of The Far Euphratesand The Illuminated Soul