The UnAmericans: Stories by Molly Antopol W.W. Norton, 272 pp., $24.95
“Write what you know” is dangerous advice. The writer who takes it risks solipsism, dullness, a lack of perspective, or all three. It is refreshing, then, to see Molly Antopol steer away from the autobiographical shoals in The UnAmericans, a collection of short stories for which she received the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 award. This young American author tells the stories of lovers past their prime, Czech dissidents, postwar American Communists, teenage partisans, and Israeli soldiers.
Witty descriptions and engaging characters are among Antopol’s strengths. In “A Difficult Phase,” a young Israeli journalist makes some sullenly funny observations: