There Is No Death in Finding Nemo
by Jeffrey M. Feingold
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Pub Date 03 Sep 2023 | Archive Date 15 Nov 2023
Seemingly simple lives are full of surprises in this collection of short stories.
Music student Dakota,in the opening title story, ignores her sister’s warning about her too-fast relationship. She moves in with Zayden, a real estate developer who certainly seems like an ambitious, responsible older man, after just a few dates. Things change drastically after Dakota unearths what’s hiding in her boyfriend’s home office. Similarly, in “Avram's Miracle,” hopeful new business partners tour the world’s biggest matzah bakery, which is in Cincinnati. They’re gunning for “worldwide matzah domination” but are unexpectedly taken aback by apprentice baker Avram’s invention. This impressive device may be able to feed masses for free, but is that really what these food industrialists want? Many readers will relate to the lives of those in the seven tales herein: an aging man pining for youth in “The Mirror” and a woman long denying her own very real mental condition in“The Loneliest Number.”Still, surreal moments intermittently crop up. In “The Box,” for example, a stranger hands the titular item to art professor Francine, who’s sitting alone at a restaurant. “For happiness,” the nameless woman tells her before quickly departing. The wooden box’s glass top periodically glows with pictures of people with whom Francine has recently conversed, but she’s not immediately clear why it does so. This story, like the others, showcases the effects of unpredictable happenings on everyday lives. - Kirkus Reviews
Magic realism flickers about in Jeffrey Feingold’s superb short story collection There Is No Death in Finding Nemo. Witness a box gifted to a woman by “a sylphlike stranger” that emits a strange blue glow; a wheat-making machine that can end world starvation; an aging, bloated dermatologist who looks in his mirror and sees an Adonis figure. Beyond the mystique are seven meaningful works, some with old world airs. In ‘Rich Girl’, David and his Gwen Stefani-singing teen daughter go visit his grandfather Aleksey, a Ukrainian Jew suffering from dementia in a bleak nursing home. Once in the room, Aleksey, reliving not his good years in America, but his trauma as a child hiding from the Cossacks, thinks they’re there to kill him. The contrast of generations – of time passing and things lost – is stunning. “Each generation more American, until there was nothing of the old country left.”
- Frances Park, award-winning author of The Summer My Sister Was Cleopatra Moon
"Atmospheric and intriguing, these short stories hide sinister implications beneath everyday realities ... choices are made and promises are broken; unsolicited advice is given; traumatic memories resurface. Still, there are also fleeting moments of joy. The prose is atmospheric throughout the book."
– Forward Reviews
Feingold develops a series of sublime characters in these tales.
In “The Loneliest Number,” for instance, Irina regularly sees a therapist but, for at least a couple of years, preferred that her doctor never mention her diagnosed bipolar disorder; Irina is also a classical pianist who sees colors in music and calms herself down by running through names of dead celebrity women who also suffered from bipolar disorder. Religion, especially Judaism, is a common theme that further grounds the stories in real life; in “Rich Girl,” accountant David, for example, belongs to a Jewish family that’s becoming less devout with each passing generation.
A few characters pop up in more than one tale, including zany wife and husband Mary and Phil. As a supporting character, Mary offers telephonic advice to one of her sisters while simultaneously dominating an argument with her mostly ineffectual spouse. They lead their own story in the collection’s last and shortest offering, “There Is No Death in Finding Nemo,” which finds them in their weirdest squabble yet. Feingold’s concise prose generates succinct narratives and vivid images; Francine even sees memorable sights on a dating app, such as a “grizzled man in a plaid flannel shirt, sitting on the hood of his red pickup truck, flashing a yellow smile.” Other narrative details are often clever or playful, as when David goes to see his grandfather, who has dementia, in a Boston nursing home; their dialogue is intercut with a movie playing on TV—effectively fostering the impression that Rock Hudson and Doris Day are part of the conversation ... profound tales featuring colorful imagery and accessible characters.
- Kirkus Reviews
A short story collection that depicts protagonists whose seemingly mundane lives change in surprising ways as they step into a realm of the fantastic.
Jeffrey M. Feingold’s THERE IS NO DEATH IN FINDING NEMO is a collection of stories focused on gifted individuals – from intellectuals and doctors to classically trained musicians. Despite their knowledge or brilliance, these characters deal with the same problems as everyone else: loneliness, low self-esteem or the vagaries of old age.
Frequently, there is a surreal twist to a story. What makes them great is their nebulous nature. Sometimes they are real. At other times, they exist solely in the protagonist’s mind. This makes the stories delightfully unpredictable. The author does a great job writing tales that are funny and emotionally engaging.
“The Narcissist’s Library” tells a story of a manipulative pick-up artist who gets a well-deserved comeuppance. “The Loneliest Number” follows a bipolar concert pianist struggling with crippling stage fright. At other times Feingold hits hard. His short story “Rich Girl” starts rather mundane, only to irresistibly move towards a devastating, haunting ending ... it is hard not to be charmed by this collection. The stories are a breeze and can be read in a single evening. They may vary in tone but are never dull. There's giddiness to the collection – a distinct impression that the author enjoys writing. Feingold loves wordplay and frequently places his protagonists in almost farcical situations. And yet, it feels as if the author takes his characters – their hopes, their fears, their longings – seriously.
IR Verdict: Stories in Jeffrey M. Feingold’s THERE IS NO DEATH IN FINDING NEMO are sometimes poignant, frequently hilarious, and almost always surreal.
Five star rating.
- Readers' Favorite
IndieReader Approved Rating.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 15 members
Thank you NetGalley and impspired press for the ARC of this novella compiled of shortstories. They were interesting 7 stories that made you think and were also completely relatable. Full of surprises my favorite was the first one with the surprise book club. All seemingly have a message and shake up every day lives.
A nice mix of stories, each with a surprise. Pretty good writing here, and I look forward to the author's future work
Thanks very much for the free copy for review!!
This was a wonderfully done short story collection, each story was what I was hoping for and was strongly written. I enjoyed the way Jeffrey M. Feingold wrote this and thought it worked overall as a strong collection. I can't wait for more from the author.
This is a cute compilation of short stories with each story tackling a different social issue. Some are funny and some are more serious but all in all the stories were fun to read and kept my attention. This is good for those who like Black Mirror and are into stories that touch on weirder subjects and abnormal strange things. I wouldn’t say supernatural, but definitely not normal! I loved reading these stories. The writer had a strong voice for each narrator and character telling their story!
This was a quirky collection of short stories that were based on some unique ideas.
A young woman discovering something dark about the man she has formed a relationship with and finding a very smart way of dealing with it. This is the first of 7 and quite interesting.
An older man sees something startling when he looks into a mirror in his house but is it true? This is about how we see ourselves and the preoccupation with our physical selves.
A young man invents a machine with the power to ease food shortage but at his work place he faces severe pushback from those who see his invention as a threat to their jobs.
The ones I liked the most were The box and the title story were my favourites. Overall every story had something new and conveyed the meaning well.
Jeffrey M. Feingold has created several interesting stories which deal with all manner of life's obstacles. Two of my favorites in this collection were "The Mirror" in which a man begins to love the way he looks... in one specific mirror and "The Box" in which a woman is given a mysterious box "for happiness". Each of these seven stories was well written and had themes which produced deeper thought. I also liked that many characters seem vaguely connected, giving these stories even more cohesion as a collection.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Thank you NetGalley for the advanced e copy. This was a cute, fun collection of short stories. Some of these stories had the perfect ending, and others I wish they would have been longer.
A short read, I enjoyed the flow from story to story. As with any anthology or collection, you'll like some writings more than others; but since these stories feel pretty similar, they have a "all or nothing" vibe, if you like one you'll like all of them.
There Is No Death in Finding Nemo by Jeffrey M. Feingold is an entertaining collection of seven short stories varying in theme and tone, featuring characters who are real and relatable, as are the dilemmas they face.
The first story, The Narcissist’s Library (3/5), revolves around a young woman who, ignoring her sister’s advice, embarks on an ill-fated relationship. Not a favorite, but I did like how it ended. In The Mirror (4/5), we meet a man in his mid-sixties whose preoccupation with youthfulness and body, image blurs his reality. An apprentice baker and innovator’s ideology and well-intentioned efforts to address food supply shortage and hunger issues result in a clash with those looking to profit from their own business ventures in Avram’s Miracle (3.5/5). In The Box (5/5), a mysterious gift from a stranger enables a young art professor to approach the challenges of online dating and modern relationships in a rather unique way. A pianist with mental health issues seeks help from a therapist but also has a unique method of coping with her situation in The Loneliest Number (4/5). A visit to his grandfather in an assisted living facility inspires a middle-aged man’s reflection on his family history and how that has impacted his personal beliefs in Rich Girl (4/5) In the final story, There Is No Death in Finding Nemo (4/5), we follow the volatile dynamics between a married couple who we have met in a few of the other stories. This is the shortest story in the collection, but through all the three stories featuring this couple, we’re given a deeper look into the trajectory of their relationship.
In stories ranging from humorous to emotional to surreal, the author addresses themes such as relationships and self-worth, infidelity, mental health, aging and self-perception, among others with humor and insight. While a few of the stories are simple and straightforward, others are quite creative, with interesting twists at the end. None of the stories end abruptly or are left to the reader’s interpretation. The sparse prose with no excess, relatable characters and the varying themes made for an enjoyable reading experience. This is my first time reading this author and I’m eager to explore more of his work.
Many thanks to Impspired Press and NetGalley for the digital review copy of this collection of stories. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
This book is full of ethical stories from many different genres from a girl‘s revenge when she finds her boyfriend secret library to many more it’s published and put out by after dinner conversations who won law they were magazine with many different short stories that have an ethical problem to solve in this book is full of those stories I love them I love the sport and the thing I love most is that they have so many stories you’ll never read them all you may read this whole book but if you want more you should sign up for after dinner conversation magazine and OMG I sound like a commercial but I am not affiliated just a huge fan. This is a definite five star story collection. I want to thank imagination press Annette galley for my free arc copy please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.