Monday 26 July 2021



Synopsis/blurb ....

OUT OF THE BRONX, a stunning collection of stories by Jerome Kass, follows Joel Sachs, from his childhood in the Bronx to his adult life in Manhattan. Along the way we encounter his friends and family: his father, Lou, an inveterate gambler; his mother, Rose, whose anger toward Lou is often tempered by her need to take care of him; Joel's older sister, Fanny, whose sense of being unloved makes her want to tear the family apart; and his beautiful younger sister, Gloria, who will end up uncovering the family's deepest secrets. And of course, there is Joel, who as a boy tries to hold the family together and make the abnormal seem normal-and as a man seeks to break free from the people and places that still have him in their grip.

An interesting collection of linked short stories which illustrate the growing pains of Joel Sachs from childhood to old age. Joel Sachs is a Jewish boy, born in 1939 and living in the Bronx. Out of the Bronx is his life story.

The contents consist of...
The Accident
The Bank
Joel Fresser, The Chocolate Virgin
Rhonda Spiegel
A Squirrel and a Couple of Nuts
Lou's Death
Let's Make a Baby
Best Friends

The stories concern ...
Parents, siblings, friends, spouses, romance, marriage, death, loss, disappointment, addiction and the consequences thereof, childhood, puberty, poverty, infidelity, rivalries, love, loyalty, favourtism, resentment, estrangement, a desire to reproduce, questions of identity and a bit more besides.

The narrative probably doesn't differ too much from that of a lot of families. All families have secrets, and to a greater or lesser degree ....... measures of love, trust, dependency, memories and shared experiences - both good and bad, injuries, sleights - real and imagined, the harbouring of resentments and grudges, annoyances, a willingness to forgive and move on, or not depending on the hurt involved and the disposition of the injured party.

The stories are probably a bit more mainstream than my usual reading. There is no real action or thrills present. The only crimes committed are those of the heart and the hurts we inflict on those nearest to us - theft, selfishness, jealousy, deceit and adultery.

I enjoyed all of these vignettes equally, without ever being in awe of the writing. 

An entertaining enough collection. 

3.5 from 5

Read - July, 2021
Published - 2014
Page count - 246
Source - Net Galley review copy
Format - Kindle


  1. I like the idea of linked stories, Col. To me, anyway, they give a fuller picture of the main character(s) and the context. I think it's an interesting and logical way to connect stories, too. And these do sound like solid reads. Even if they didn't knock your socks off, they sound satisfying, and that's all to the good.

    1. Margot, I agree. I did enjoy the collection and never felt as if I would have been better served reading something else instead of it. It did exactly what it was meant to! ENTERTAINED ME!