Gallery of the Disappeared Men
by Jonathan Papernick
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Pub Date 25 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 25 Apr 2023
The Story Plant, Gramarye
From the author of the acclaimed short story collection The Ascent of Eli Israel, and the warm, funny and heart-wrenching novel I Am My Beloveds, here are 14 searing, deeply immersive stories that will forever change the way you look at the human experience.
Profound and magical, dark and disturbing, Papernick's stories are always challenging and brave. Whether he is writing stiletto-sharp flash fiction or a novella-length historical drama, Papernick's characters are rendered with the greatest empathy, presenting beauty and understanding amid stark brutality.
From the opening story “Displaced Person,” to the sexy and shocking “The Cinq à Sept Girl,” Papernick returns to the themes of love and longing and desire. “Adam Number Three,” provides a golem revenge story for the 21st century, while “When the Rains Came,” a brief but devastating parable, takes on the eternal great flood myth in which only innocent children remain to carry on.
Masterful storytelling, by a writer working at peak power, Gallery of the Disappeared Men will remain with you long after you have closed the book.
“The stories in Jonathan Papernick’s ambitious collection Gallery of the Disappeared Men, all ask a profound question: how do we begin to face our own trauma? Part mythical, part magical, always historical, and forever haunting, this book examines the violence and brutality of antisemitism, racism, and misogyny through a difficult lens; prepare to be shaken by it. I won’t forget it.” —Carolyn Ferrell, author of Don’t Erase Me and Dear Miss Metropolitan; anthologized in Best American Short Stories 2018 and The Best American Short Stories of the Century
“Papernick’s stories are at turns gritty, heart-wrenching, and quick-witted, but always unforgettable. I’m so excited to know this collection will finally be out in the world. Everyone should read it.” —Sara Nović, New York Times best-selling author of True Biz
“With his new collection, Gallery of the Disappeared Men, Jonathan Papernick once again proves himself a consummate storyteller. From a stark displaced persons’ camp to the staid Boston suburbs, to the purportedly cushy camp hills of Orange County, Papernick boldly immerses us in unsettling and disturbing landscapes. Violence is everywhere and often unrelenting, perpetrated by an extensive cast of bullies. But there is magic in the horror too. Children grow gills. A dead mother spams her son. A severed hand morphs into a man. These are brutal stories of a troubled world excavated with surgical precision in a tireless search of the reckless and ruined, ever-beating, human heart.” —Sara Lippmann, author of Doll Palace, Jerks, and Lech
“As a novelist, Jonathan Papernick is a master at salvaging dignity from human disappointment. He is a fixer in fiction, a storyteller of hidden silver linings, the kind of lively, engaging writer who will make you laugh and squirm and root for a happier ending for his characters—all misfits, outcasts, survivors—many of whom are too cynical or broken to believe in the writer who conjured them. Gallery of the Disappeared Men is a master class in Papernick’s special talents.” —Thane Rosenbaum, author of How Sweet It Is!, The Golems of Gotham, and Second Hand Smoke
“I could rave on for hours about how deeply moved I was by this collection. I am awed by how well Papernick writes the perspectives of women, how he writes loss, and how he incorporates Jewish history and the rich pain of our people that remains a shadow of unshakable darkness that lives inside of us. Gallery of the Disappeared Men is unique and powerful. And it offers hope, too, by showing how transformative love can be in all its many broken forms of rescue. Each story in this collection is a beautifully crafted ballad, and each character a cantor, who illuminates the deepest forms of loss and offers a survivors’ breed of hope, making this a perfect collection for our times.” —Melissa Falcon Field, author of What Burns Away
“Prepare yourself. Gallery of the Disappeared Men is not a book you can dip into. These stories are transgressive and unafraid. This is a book that will trap you and sentence by sentence bind you more tightly to the fates of characters faced with impossible choices, characters driven by desires they do not understand, characters who search for what seems real. Here are dreams, some of them nightmares, from which you will not easily wake, and which will stay with you long after you do.” —Richard Hoffman, author of Interference & Other Stories
“Gallery of the Disappeared Men is a knockout collection of stories that promises to both shock and move you. With bright, evocative prose, Papernick dares to shine a light on the disturbing edges of the human psyche, while never losing sight of the goodness often found at the center. In these stories, better selves battle crueler instincts, painful pasts clash with hopeful futures, magical realism dances with harsh verisimilitude, and cruelty and violence occur—as they do in the real world—beside sparks of kindness and conscience. Reader, prepare to sometimes squirm with discomfort, sometimes root with joy, and to never ever be bored.” —Jessamyn Hope, author of Safekeeping
“Jon Papernick is a magician, conjuring a rich emotional landscape from his deeply observed characters and their very human lives and needs.” —Ben Tanzer, author of Upstate, Orphans, and Lost in Space
“Jonathan Papernick’s Gallery of the Disappeared Men is vicious and truthful, fantastical yet down-to-earth. Each story offers a different angle into the troubled heart of humanity with a keen eye for every palpitation and irregular beat. An equal mix of survivors, victims, and those who fall between such distinctions appear throughout these stories. All of them will linger and lurk in your mind for a long while. Disappear with these men (and women) and find yourself somewhere else indeed.” —Charles Pieper, writer and director of Malacostraca, writer of Destroy all Neighbors and producer of Everybody Goes to the Hospital