“What makes Friedman more interesting than most of Malamud, Roth and Bellow is the sense he affords of possibilities larger than the doings and undoings of the Jewish urban bourgeois….What makes him more important is that he writes out of the viscera instead of the cerebrum.”Nelson Algren, The Nation
978-0-8021-3750-0 • $12.00 • Paperback • Jan. 2001
Well before Philip Roth in Portnoy’s Complaint turned
the special predicament of the American Jew into a long psychiatric joke,
Friedman told the original story and got the first laugh. Stern is the
story of a Jewish family displaced from the city to the suburbs, and more
particularly, of the mild-mannered Everyman of the title, under siege in his
new home, set upon by voracious caterpillars as well as shades of bigotry that
range from the genteel snub to outright anti-Semitism. With masterly
procrastination, Stern sets out to avenge one such incident at the
hands of a beer-drinking neighbor.
Balefully funny, darkly antic, the genius of Bruce Jay
Friedman lies in weaving a light but durable web of laughter over the abyss of
contemporary American life. Originally published in 1962, Stern is a
high comedy of enduring relevance.