The Unamericans (Hardcover)
February 2014 Indie Next List
“Antopol has written a pitch-perfect collection of stories that capture the essence of human survival and triumph: a grandmother sharing the tale of her harrowing sewer-line escape from the Nazis and her rescue by a young resistance worker who ultimately becomes her husband; an aspiring actor of Russian descent jailed during the McCarthy era, who is attempting to build a relationship with his son after his prison term is over; another father, this one a struggling, middle-aged adjunct professor, who worries that the play his daughter is producing may expose the secrets of his escape from Czechoslovakia. Each story is a gem to be savored and each demonstrates that a new American talent has emerged.”
— Nancy Simpson-Brice, The Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA
An absentee father, a former dissident from communist-era Prague, needles his adult daughter for details about her newly commissioned play when he fears it will cast him in an unflattering light. An actor, imprisoned during the Red Scare for playing up his communist leanings to get a part with a leftist film director, is shamed by his act when he reunites with his precocious young son. An Israeli soldier, forced to defend a settlement filled with American religious families, still pines for a chance to discover the United States for himself. A young Israeli journalist, left unemployed after America's most recent economic crash, questions her life path when she begins dating a middle-aged widower still in mourning for his wife. And in the book's final story, a tour de force spanning three continents and three generations of women, a young American and her Israeli husband are forced to reconsider their marriage after the death of her dissident art-collecting grandmother.
Again and again, Molly Antopol's deeply sympathetic characters struggle for footing in an uncertain world, hounded by forces beyond their control. Their voices are intimate and powerful and they resonate with searing beauty. Antopol is a superb young talent, and The UnAmericans will long be remembered for its wit, humanity, and heart.
About the Author
Molly Antopol teaches writing at Stanford University, where she was a recent Wallace Stegner Fellow. A recipient of the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 award, she holds an MFA from Columbia University and lives in San Francisco.