For the Relief of Unbearable Urges


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.[1] 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."[2] 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
  • Reunion
  • 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
  1. ^ Various. "Praise for Nathan Englander". Barnes & Noble
  2. ^ Englander, Nathan (2000). For the Relief of Unbearable Urges. New York: Vintage. p. 182. 

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