For The Relief of Unbearable Urges by Nathan Englander
This is an interesting story about a Hasidic man who gets special permission from his Rabbi to visit a prostitute after encountering reluctance from his wife to perform her marital duties. It's an odd thing... this idea of a Rabbi offering this solution, and it seems rather unrealistic to me.
The story is described as "hilarious" on Amazon... but I found nothing funny about it at all. More sad and demoralizing than humorous; the joke was lost on me... especially when you consider the tragic ending. But perhaps it's a Jewish culture thing that I just don't understand.
Gimpel The Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer
Another strange Jewish tale about a man who is deceived by his wife several times over, and although he believes what he sees as truth, she is able to convince him that he's imagining it all. Through each moment of deception, namely, many children fathered by others - one of which is his own apprentice - still, when she tells him he is simply imagining things, he believes her and continues to carry on as if he'd made a mistake.
In the end, his wife dies and she confesses on her deathbed that not only are the children not his, but she can't remember who the fathers are... "there were so many".
This was another story that I think the point was deeply mired in Jewish culture, and I simply didn't understand the point of it all. Again, this story left me wondering, much like Gimpel, if I am right to proclaim that it is in fact poor writing, or if it's just me.
Diana Kathryn Plopa
I love being in love; writing; reading; mammals of nearly every kind, and especially micro-humans! Come enjoy my world with me - Secret Decoder Ring not required!!