Leonard Michaels, stunts and assets


Larky, fitfully brilliant, as profane as they are aphoristic, Leonard Michaels’s stories stand alongside those of his best Jewish contemporaries — Grace Paley and Philip Roth. Like theirs, Michaels’s vernacular achieves the level of song. And yet, though much celebrated during his lifetime — Michaels died at 70 in 2003 — his sexually kinetic work is little read today. But perhaps now it will be, with the republication of his work in two new volumes that should bring Michaels to a new generation of readers and remind us of his lasting achievement. “The Collected Stories” includes the full contents of his acclaimed first two volumes, “Going Places” (1969) and “I Would Have Saved Them if I Could” (1975), as well as selections from his later writing, including all the existing Nachman stories. “Sylvia” is a fictionalized memoir, first published in 1992, about Michaels’s first wife, Sylvia Bloch, who committed suicide.

more from the NY Times Book Review here.