The Book of Mischief

The Book of Mischief
New and Selected Stories
Steve Stern

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012

A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year

About the Book

“In the 25 years since [Stern] published his first book, younger Jewish writers have run with a similar shtick . . . But Stern was there first.”—The Toronto Globe and Mail

The Book of Mischief triumphantly showcases twenty-five years of outstanding work by one of our true masters of the short story. Steve Stern’s stories take us from the unlikely old Jewish quarter of the Pinch in Memphis to a turn-of-thecentury immigrant community in New York; from the market towns of Eastern Europe to a down-at-the-heels Catskills resort. Along the way we meet a motley assortment of characters: Mendy Dreyfus, whose bungee jump goes uncannily awry; Elijah the prophet turned voyeur; and the misfit Zelik Rifkin, who discovers the tree of dreams. Perhaps it’s no surprise that Kafka’s cockroach also makes an appearance in these pages, animated as they are by instances of bewildering transformation. The earthbound take flight, the meek turn incendiary, the powerless find unwonted fame. Weaving his particular brand of mischief from the wondrous and the macabre, Stern transforms us all through the power of his brilliant imagination.

Additional Reviews

“Stern’s stories are suffused with nostalgia for this lost world. . . . Nothing goes unobserved.”—The New York Times Book Review
"A magisterial collection. . . . Stern's universe is a funny one, but he's honest enough to notice that sometimes we're the punch line."The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
“Stern’s characters are subtle, slyly humorous and at times poignant. . . . An intricate and clever web of stories steeped in both sacred and mundane Jewish culture.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review