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Harvey Freedenberg

Biography

Harvey Freedenberg


mwn52@aol.com

Harvey Freedenberg practices intellectual property law and litigation with a large Harrisburg, Pennsylvania firm. He's been working as a freelance reviewer since 2005 and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. In addition to the more than 100 reviews he's written for Bookreporter.com, he reviews for BookPage, Shelf Awareness and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. He also writes a monthly column featuring reviews and articles on other book-related subjects for Harrisburg Magazine. In 2000, Harvey took a six-month sabbatical from his law practice and studied creative writing at his alma mater, Dickinson College. Three of his short stories have won prizes, and he has written an as-yet-unpublished novel. Harvey enjoys literary fiction and a wide range of nonfiction. His favorite authors are too numerous to mention, but include Richard Ford, Tim O’Brien, John Updike, Charles Baxter, John Cheever, Tracy Kidder and John McPhee. To read all of Harvey's reviews along with his comments on the book world and assorted topics, follow him on Twitter (@HarvF) or friend him on Facebook.

Harvey Freedenberg

Reviews by Harvey Freedenberg

by Adam Gopnik - Memoir, Nonfiction

When Adam Gopnik and his soon-to-be-wife, Martha, left the comforts of home in Montreal for New York, the city then, much like today, was a pilgrimage site for the young, the arty and the ambitious. But it was also becoming a city of greed, where both life's consolations and its necessities were increasingly going to the highest bidder. AT THE STRANGERS’ GATE builds a portrait of this particular moment in New York through the story of this couple's journey --- from their excited arrival as aspiring artists to their eventual growth into a New York family.

by Gabriel Tallent - Fiction

At 14, Turtle Alveston roams the woods along the northern California coast. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother. Her social existence is confined to her middle school and her life with her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her.

by Jonathan Dee - Fiction

Mark Firth is a contractor and home restorer in Howland, Massachusetts, who feels opportunity passing his family by. After being swindled by a financial advisor, what future can Mark promise his wife and their young daughter? He finds himself envying the wealthy weekenders in his community whose houses sit empty all winter. Philip Hadi used to be one of these people. But in the nervous days after 9/11, he flees New York and hires Mark to turn his Howland home into a year-round “secure location” from which he can manage billions of dollars of other people’s money. The collision of these two men’s very different worlds --- rural vs. urban, middle class vs. wealthy --- is the engine of Jonathan Dee’s new novel.

by Alissa Nutting - Fiction

Hazel has moved into a trailer park of senior citizens after running out on her marriage to Byron Gogol. For over a decade, Hazel put up with being veritably quarantined by Byron in the family compound, her every movement and vital sign tracked. But when he demands to wirelessly connect the two of them via brain chips in a first-ever human “mind-meld,” Hazel decides what was once merely irritating has become unbearable. As she tries to carve out a new life for herself, Byron is using the most sophisticated tools at his disposal to find her and bring her home. Hazel is forced to take drastic measures in order to find a home of her own and free herself from Byron’s virtual clutches once and for all.

by Andrew Sean Greer - Comedy, Fiction, Romance

You are a failed novelist about to turn 50. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can't say yes --- it would be too awkward. And you can't say no --- it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world. How do you arrange to skip town? You accept them all. Arthur Less will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Saharan sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and encounter, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to face.

by Steven Levingston - History, Nonfiction, Politics

KENNEDY AND KING traces the emergence of two of the 20th century's greatest leaders, their powerful impact on each other and on the shape of the civil rights battle between 1960 and 1963. These two men from starkly different worlds profoundly influenced each other's personal development. Kennedy's hesitation on civil rights spurred King to greater acts of courage, and King inspired Kennedy to finally make a moral commitment to equality.

by Siobhan Fallon - Fiction

Both Cassie Hugo and Margaret Brickshaw dutifully followed their soldier husbands to the U.S. embassy in Jordan, but that’s about all the women have in common. After two years, Cassie has become an expert on the rules, but newly arrived Margaret sees only her chance to explore. So when a fender-bender sends Margaret to the local police station, Cassie reluctantly agrees to watch Margaret’s toddler son. But as the hours pass, Cassie’s boredom and frustration turn to fear: Why isn’t Margaret answering her phone, and why is it taking so long to sort out a routine accident? Snooping around Margaret’s apartment, Cassie begins to question not only her friend’s whereabouts but also her own role in Margaret’s disappearance.

by Ann Beattie - Fiction, Short Stories

Set along the East Coast from Maine to Key West, Ann Beattie’s new collection explores unconventional friendships, frustrated loves, mortality and aging. One theme of THE ACCOMPLISHED GUEST is people paying visits or receiving visitors, traveling to see old friends, the joys and tolls of hosting company (and of being hosted). The occasion might be a wedding, a birthday, a reunion, an annual Christmas party, or another opportunity to gather and attempt to bond with biological relatives or chosen families. In some stories, as in life, what begins as a benign social event becomes a situation played for high stakes.

by Joshua Ferris - Fiction, Short Stories

Each of these 11 stories, many of which were first published in The New Yorker, burrows deep into the often awkward and hilarious misunderstandings that pass between strangers and lovers alike, and that turn ordinary lives upside down. Joshua Ferris shows to what lengths we mortals go to coax human meaning from our very modest time on earth, an effort that skews ever-more desperately in the direction of redemption. The stories in THE DINNER PARTY are about lives changed forever when the reckless gives way to possibility and the ordinary cedes ground to mystery.

by Richard Russo - Fiction, Short Stories

Richard Russo's characters in these four expansive stories bear little similarity to the blue-collar citizens we're familiar with from many of his novels. In "Horseman," a professor confronts a young plagiarist as well as her own weaknesses as the Thanksgiving holiday looms closer and closer. In "Intervention," a realtor facing an ominous medical prognosis finds himself in his father's shadow while he presses forward --- or not. In "Voice," a semiretired academic is conned by his increasingly estranged brother into coming along on a group tour of the Venice Biennale. And in "Milton and Marcus," a lapsed novelist tries to rekindle his screenwriting career, only to be stymied by the pratfalls of that trade when he's called to an aging, iconic star's mountaintop retreat in Wyoming.