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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

The UnAmericans

The UnAmericans: Fiction - Molly Antopol

The UnAmericans is a wonderful new collection of short stories. Molly Antopol does an amazing job giving a sense of urgency to these stories, making them feel more novelistic in scope. In a matter of a few pages, I was completely drawn into the tale and felt like I'd spent more time with these characters than just those few pages. These stories are intelligent and well-written, though nothing new or startling in terms of craft and style. They're emotional and really capture those idiosyncrasies that make us human. Antopol's characters often react in ways that are shocking, yet understandable—even familiar.

 

What attracted me to this collection was the title. I loved it. Ironically, the title ended up being the one thing I felt left this book disjointed. Other than largely focusing on a cast of non-Americans, there was nothing “UnAmerican” about this collection. I kept looking for that hint of dissent, for that rejection of “American values”—something that made this “Unamerican.” There are many other titles that would've been a better choice logically, but they wouldn't have caught my attention the same, so The UnAmericans it is.