Choose Somebody Else

"O h Lord, I know we are the Chosen People but just for once couldn’t you choose somebody else?"

It is an old plea, heartsick yet ironic, and with it, these twelve, interlinked stories lift off on their journey around the world. From Melbourne to the Gold Coast, from Montreux to Milan and Jerusalem the tales examine the question of whether it is better to be chosen or ignored by a capricious creator.

The stories are discrete but connected by their representations of various generations of the tormented. A medieval legend taken from the Talmud is gentle with gender ambiguity yet follows it to its unforeseen end. A tale of magical realism tells of a rabbi, a student who falls in love with him and a shadow-soul from a distant era.There are depressive lawyers and drunken students and there is a dreamer who finds herself inside the world of the hard-boiled detective. Finally there is a taste of F. Scott Fitzgerald in the saga of girls living together at an exclusive Swiss school.

Both darkness and humour are brought into play to chronicle the disturbances — large and small — bedevilling the protagonists’ lives. Almost all of them are engaged in problematic attempts to flee reality. Many suffer from PTSD after history’s nightmares yet somehow, with mordant wit and melancholy acuity so characteristic of their tribe, many of them find a way to make their journey worthwhile

Yvonne Fein’s stories are uncompromising in their expression of human emotions ranging from cold bigotry to empathy, despair to elation and from rage to love. Fein knows how to tell astory with compelling dialogue and sustained tension...

Arnold Zable, author

Utterly delightful, inspirational and deeply thought-provoking

Alan Gold, author, reviewer

Yvonne Fein brings a luminous new imagination to the traumas and triumphs ofthe Jewish experience. The achievement of her stories is to compel the reader to re-engage with a narrative of nightmare and courage in dangerof disappearing into the archives.

Robert Hillman, award-winning author

A blend of light and dark, of wry humour and fierce reminder.

Clare Allan, Writers Victoria

There is a sage-like quality to Fein’s stories: a deep commitment to tradition, mingled with moral fury and a complex understanding of our world as it spins out of control.

Bram Presser, author

Fein is a masterly, evocative storyteller. With poignant observation, and surgically economic language, she imbues her stories in universal and, at times, mythical narratives... Although the past haunts the present, the future remains surprisingly uncertain in these beautifully crafted stories.

Dr Victor Majzner, artist

These fiercely intense stories carry a serious punch. Although they vary in subject matter —from the travails of a glutton to the rites of passage of an Australian Jewish Princess, to fantastical stories of Jewish mysticism —they share a terrific energy, a narrative drive, and ultimately a unifying thread...

Howard Goldenberg, author and doctor