The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol

The UnAmericans: Fiction - Molly Antopol

I want desperately to write a summary of The UnAmericans, but I could not do it justice. Therefore I will have to resort to posting the summary supplied by Good Reads.


In this auspicious debut, Molly Antopol cuts a wide swath through the fabric of time and place, exploring people from different cultures who are all painfully human in their joys, desires, tragedies, and heartaches. An actor, phased out of Hollywood for his Communist ties during McCarthyism, tries to share a meaningful moment with his son. An Israeli soldier comes of age when his brother is maimed on their communal farm. A gallerist, swept up by the 1970s dissident art movement, begins smuggling paintings out of Moscow and curating underground shows in her Jerusalem home. This is a rare collection as accomplished at capturing our soaring triumphs as it is our crippling defeats--a hopeful reminder that we are all closer and more capable than we sometimes feel.


I loved this collection of stories. Of course, when I started I did not realize that it was a short story collection, and assumed that it was a novel of interlocking stories, but once I got around that surprise I found that I loved this collection.


I don't read many short stories, or at least a collection of them. I'm not sure why, but often I just do not feel satisfied after reading them, not like the satisfaction of finishing off a meaty novel. So it takes great skill on the author to draw me in like this collection did. From the first story, to the second to last story, each one just got even better than the one preceding it. By the end of the second to last story, I almost cried.


The final story in the collection, about the art collector, didn't do much for me. Maybe because I had read the collection almost straight through and I was beginning to get antsy, or perhaps it just wasn't that did feel disjointed and confusing. It was the only time I found myself wondering if perhaps I should skip it. But I finished it. 


A solid four stars.