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In Kissing a Tree Surgeon, worlds traverse the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in New Jersey. Southern women get kidnapped by North Koreans. A Dutch girl solicits money on OKCupid. A young woman meets Golda Meir on an Upper East Side bus in New York City. A character believes he’s the biological son of Frank Sinatra. Zionist-Hasidic lesbians protest anti-Semitism at a women’s Catholic college. A stalking moviegoer takes her dead grandmother to a Bertolucci film. A daughter meets her father’s mistress at his grave. An employee is banned from calling her boss in the office. An adult woman visits the radio store in Lakewood, New Jersey, of the boy who didn’t invite her to his bar mitzvah.
"Eleanor Levine’s debut collection of stories is wild and exuberant, full of the stuff of real life filtered through a vision as unique as any I have ever encountered. I loved every story in this book, as wide-ranging in scope and subject as they are. The short story form is in the new and innovative hands of Eleanor Levine, which means that it’s alive and well and ever-evolving. A remarkable book."
—Wayne Johnston, author of The Colony of Unrequited Dreams and The Divine Ryans
"Eleanor Levine’s short stories start out odd, become strange, and flower into true weirdness. It’s ordinary life shattered into fragments and reassembled as rueful surreal comedy, in which people die and are buried, but also show up for lunch, their indelible grumpy selves. It’s like nothing else you are likely to read this year, or maybe any year."
—Katha Pollitt, poet, essayist, and critic, who writes the bimonthly column “Subject to Debate” in The Nation magazine
"Levine’s unique voice catches you off guard and takes you on a wild journey you didn’t know you needed. Ultimately, Kissing a Tree Surgeon is a collection of stories about belonging. And in a time where feeling like an outsider amidst a surrealist landscape is common, Levine reminds us to laugh about it."
—Briana Weeger, The Coachella Review