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Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Ministry of Special Cases by Nathan Englander

Nathan Englander, Pen/ Malamud award winning author for his short story collection, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, recently published his first novel, The Ministry of Special Cases. Set in the midst of Argentina’s tumultuous “Dirty War” in 1976, this faced paced novel follows one family’s harrowing struggle to survive as people all around them continually seem to be “disappeared” under mysterious circumstances. The Ministry of Special Cases is one of the most exciting books I’ve read in a while… The story is a scary and sad but ironically, Englander tells it with such insightfullness that he manages to lift the story from its dark setting and somehow he even manages to convey hopefulness throughout the book. My favorite part of the book and Englander’s writing style is that he laces the story with humor that few writers can pull off when writing a serious novel. - Caroline Morrison