For the Relief of Unbearable Urges is a short story collection by Nathan Englander, first published by Knopf in 1999. It has received many positive reviews. It earned Englander a PEN/Malamud Award and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction. The collection contains nine stories, many of which are set in the Jewish Orthodox world. The title story tells of a married Hasidic Jew who receives special dispensation from a rabbi to visit a prostitute – "for the relief of unbearable urges." The story "The Twenty-seventh Man", about Yiddish writers killed by Stalin, is an allusion to the Night of the Murdered Poets.
The contents, in order:
- The Twenty-seventh Man
- The Tumblers
- The Wig
- The Gilgul of Park Avenue
- Reb Kringle
- The Last One Way
- For the Relief of Unbearable Urges
- In This Way We Are Wise
- ^ Various. "Praise for Nathan Englander". Barnes & Noble.
- ^ Englander, Nathan (2000). For the Relief of Unbearable Urges. New York: Vintage. p. 182.