"Offering heartfelt evocations of Jewish and gay identity, this collection is a bittersweet rendering of a complex culture. Raphael is expert at conveying tension. Conflating graphic sex scenes with Holocaust memories and epiphanies of self-discovery, Raphael writes from a highly distinctive perspective: a compassionate celebrant of souls squeezed by mainstream pressures and fighting for pride. Concerned ultimately with the struggle for love both human and divine, these are searing stories."
"Lev Raphael's moving collection of stories speaks eloquently to the richness and variety of his concerns: faith, family, history, sexuality, what it means to be a Jew, what it means to be a man. He is a bold writer with a tender heart."
—Elizabeth Benedict, Author of The Practice of Deceit, Almost, and The Joy of Writing Sex
“Lev Raphael's stories are as thrilling as his thrillers, but for an entirely different set of reasons: the psychological perspicacity, good humor and deep empathy with which he approaches all the secret anniversaries of the heart—his lovely title—that make up his characters' wonderfully flawed humanity.”
— Jonathan Wilson, Author of An Ambulance is on the Way: Stories of Men in Trouble and A Palestine Affair
"Lev Raphael takes us into uncharted literary territory where Jewish identity, traumatic history and homosexuality collide and sometimes resolve in surprising ways. His stories, set in college dorms and family living rooms, enlarge and enliven the scope of American fiction."
—Helen Epstein, Author of Children of the Holocaust
“The power of Raphael’s stories comes from his passion for telling the truth, however painful.”
When Lev Raphael published the controversial story collection Dancing on Tisha B’Av, he broke new ground in the publishing world. Never before in one book had an American writer dealt with the conflicts between homosexuality and traditional Judaism, linked the chilling mind diseases of anti-semitism and homophobia, and also borne witness not only to the legacy of Holocaust survivors but the suffering and conflicts of their children. Winner of the prestigious Lambda Literary Award, Raphael opened the door to a new kind of American Jewish fiction.
Secret Anniversaries of the Heart unites the best stories from Dancing on Tisha B’Av with twelve new stories including one never before published. Here we encounter tales of anti-semitism on the college campus, of self-hatred and body obsession, and of survivor parents whose only response to the Holocaust is to isolate themselves, unconsciously committing a kind of emotional suicide.
In a collection that encompasses over twenty five years of his award winning stories, Lev Raphael proves himself a visionary like James Baldwin, and shares Anita Brookner's gift for dramatizing the pain of seemingly quiet lives in stories that are both passionate and precise.
“His characters are voices of reason, observers rather than judges. The prose is poetic, the sex scenes sweat with passion.”
--The Los Angeles Times
Lev Raphael is the author of seventeen books published in a dozen languages. His emotional thriller The German Money (Leapfrog) was a BookSense 76 Pick. Winner of the Lambda Literary Award, among many prizes, his short works have appeared in numerous anthologies, including the star-packed WHO WE ARE: ON BEING (AND NOT BEING) A JEWISH AMERICAN AUTHOR (Schocken/Random House). He is the author of a popular mystery series and hosts BookTalk on Lansing Public Radio. Hear him on wlnz.org or visit levraphael.com.
Fiction / Short Stories
$15.95 Paperback Original
300 Pages / 6 x 9
January 31, 2006