The characters in Scott Nadelson’s third collection are living in the wake of momentous events – the rupture of relationships, the loss of loved ones, the dissolution of dreams, and yet they find new ways of forging on with their lives, making accommodations that are sometimes delusional, sometimes destructive, sometimes even healthy. In “Oslo,” a thirteen-year-old boy on a trip to Israel with his grandparents grapples with his father’s abandonment and his own rocky coming-of-age. In “The Old Uniform,” a young man left by his fiancée revisits the haunts of his single days, and on a drunken march through nighttime Brooklyn, begins to shed the false selves that have kept him from fully living. And in the title story, a couple testing out the waters of trial separation quickly discover how deeply the fault lines of their marriage run and how desperately they want to hang onto what remains. Mining Nadelson’s familiar territory of Jewish suburban New Jersey, these fearless, funny, and quietly moving stories explore the treacherous crossroads where disappointments meet unfulfilled desire.
In the latest issue of Camera Obscura Journal, Shane Oshetski interviews Hawthorne author Scott Nadelson regarding his story “Backfill” (which appears in the collection Aftermath) and the work of writing stories.
Although we may have been hearing jingly pop renditions of “The Little Drummer Boy” for at least a month already, the final countdown to the holidays is officially here now that we’ve hit December.
So if you’re still struggling to find...Forward
Real life doesn’t end when the credits roll or the last page turns. There is always the slow, quiet drive home from the movie theater as we try to realign our own expectations with the temporary thrill of a good story. We did not just save the...Forward
Whether he’s describing a married couple experimenting with trial separation or a young woman dealing with her father’s cancer, Scott Nadelson writes brilliantly about the many forms of ambivalence that love can take. His characters, of all ages, are wonderfully vivid. Aftermath is a sophisticated, emotionally complicated collection with an exhilarating undercurrent of danger.
- Margot Livesey
- The House on Fortune Street
Scott Nadelson’s stories begin with some rupture – a break-up, an accident – and explore the messy results. The relative (and often self-imposed) hell in which Nadelson’s characters find themselves is more than counter-balanced by the heaven of the telling. There’s so much to enjoy in the bluesy aftermath: the deftly drawn characters, the world replete with all-too-normal strangeness, and the sharp-eyed, clever perceptions. I emerged from the book, as if from a movie, so lost in and convinced by the vivid screen, that the world felt a little sun-bleached in comparison.
- Debra Spark
- Good for the Jews
... Seamlessly, Nadelson opens a window to the workings of the human heart.
- Northwest Book Lovers
Nadelson is interested in the grey area between major life events, the fumbling and wrong turns, the ambiguities of heart and purpose that have become the hallmarks of young adulthood. His stories strike just the right balance between funny and sad, between the high shtick of aging Jewish parents and the raw emotion of young people experiencing their first major personal disasters.
- Eugene Magazine
Nadelson is master of the anticlimax. Aftermath is an often-despairing testament to the elusiveness of closure, the infinite and insurmountable distance between even intimate lovers, but also to the human capacity for growth.
- Portland Monthly
The former Oregon Book Award Winner’s prose is elegant in its unpretentiousness. The depth of his insight is stunning. The breadth and detail of his knowledge of the ordinary lives of men and women in widely varying walks of life is astonishing.
- Jewish Review
Nadelson creates characters so endearingly flawed that regardless of our actual similarities, we relate to each of them. Each page documents our own fears, insecurities, and heartbreaks. Each sentence becomes the moment we first remember hope failing. Perhaps Nadelson’s greatest accomplishment, however, is that the collection as a whole is uplifting ... [the] realization that losses are universal – is comforting.
A novel could bring him the attention he deserves, though an artful, accomplished writer like Nadelson ought to be able to sustain a respectable career on stories alone.
Ms. Treisman and others often forget that many writer’s writers are finally pulled from the edges of obscurity. The career of Andre Dubus – who wrote long stories and novellas, published with a small but respectable outfit, and crafted two exquisite books of personal nonfiction – might be a guiding example for Scott Nadelson. Perhaps The New Yorker should pay attention to him. Perhaps you should.
- The Collagist
Nadelson has a gift. Aftermath stands out, and Nadelson shines. The literary world needs more authors like him, writers of serious prose who aren’t afraid to tackle the metaphysical questions that constitute a life.
- Adam Gallari
- Fifth Wednesday