To Be a Man


by Nicole Krauss

On Sale: 11/03/2020

To Be a Man

Enlarge Book Cover

To Be a Man


by Nicole Krauss

On Sale: 11/03/2020


Association of Jewish Libraries Jewish Fiction Award

About the Book

In a dazzling collection of stories, the New York Times–bestselling author of The History of Love, National Book Award finalist Nicole Krauss, explores what it means to be in that most perplexing of partnerships: a couple.

In one of her strongest books of fiction, Nicole Krauss plunges fearlessly into the confusion of what it is to be a man and what it is to be a woman that has existed from the very beginning in all Western myths that inform our culture. Set in contemporary times in Switzerland New York, Tel Aviv, Los Angeles and South America, these stories open a window onto young women’s coming of age and their newfound, somewhat mysterious sexual power, as well as the opportunities and dangers it presents (“Switzerland”). In a Los Angeles of terrible wildfires, a high school student, distressed by her divorcing parents and determined to assert her agency in the intoxicating freedom of a dangerous environment, forges an original and surprising sexual path (“End Days”). Men play a key role in all these stories as fathers, lovers, friends, children, seducers—even as a husband who is not a husband (“The Husband”). 

The stories mirror one another and resonate beautifully with a balance so finely tuned that the book almost feels like a novel: aging parents and newborn babies; generation gaps and unexpected deliveries of strange new leases on life; mystery and wonder at a life lived or one still to come. The two stories that bookend the collection, “Switzerland” and “To Be a Man,” perfectly introduce and play out the author’s major themes: sex and violence, men and women, coming of age and growing older.

Critical Praise

"Triumphant . . . This is a spectacular book."  — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 “The past is reckoned with; the significance of events, relationships, even the meaning of films are reinterpreted. The question of who we are at different times and places, and with different people, comes masterfully to the fore in that final story, To Be a Man.”  — The Guardian

“[Krauss’s] first story collection, To Be a Man, sustains her reputation. Reading her can feel like talking all night with a brilliant friend.”  — Washington Post

To Be a Man is at once moving and pitiless. It is a daring story even in the context of a daring collection, and it proves wholly that aesthetic simplicity has not reduced the scope of Krauss's intellectual and creative powers at all.”  — NPR Books

“Each story in To Be a Man is governed by its own unique and intricate logic, yet the stylistic differences are never gimmicky. Rather, the structures are possessed of an effortless elasticity, expanding and contracting to fit the stories these characters are compelled to tell. Many of the pieces, for example, barrel far beyond where we expect them to end — past any kind of resolution and into frightening and surprising territory.”  — New York Times


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781443449403
  • ISBN 10: 1443449407
  • Imprint: HarperCollins Publishers
  • On Sale: 11/03/2020
  • Pages: 240
  • List Price:27.99 CAD
  • BISAC1 : FICTION / Literary
  • BISAC2 : FICTION / Contemporary Women
  • BISAC3 : FICTION / Short Stories (single author)

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