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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 Three of his short stories have won prizes, and he has written an as-yet-unpublished novel.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 Andrew Sean Greer - Comedy, Fiction, Romance

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. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. Through it all, there is his first love. And there is his last.

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.

by Elizabeth Strout - Fiction, Women's Fiction

Here are two sisters: One trades self-respect for a wealthy husband, while the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. The janitor at the local school has his faith tested in an encounter with an isolated man he has come to help; a grown daughter longs for mother love even as she comes to accept her mother’s happiness in a foreign country; and the adult Lucy Barton (the heroine of MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON, Elizabeth Strout's celebrated New York Times bestseller) returns to visit her siblings after 17 years of absence.

by Dani Shapiro - Memoir, Nonfiction

HOURGLASS is an inquiry into how marriage is transformed by time --- abraded, strengthened, shaped in miraculous and sometimes terrifying ways by accident and experience. With courage and relentless honesty, Dani Shapiro opens the door to her house, her marriage and her heart, and invites us to witness her own marital reckoning --- a reckoning in which she confronts both the life she dreamed of and the life she made, and struggles to reconcile the girl she was with the woman she has become.

by Joan Didion - Essays, Memoir, Nonfiction

Joan Didion has always kept notebooks: of overheard dialogue, observations, interviews, drafts of essays and articles --- and here is one such draft that traces a road trip she took with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, through Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. And from a different notebook: the "California Notes" that began as an assignment from Rolling Stone on the Patty Hearst trial. Though Didion never wrote the piece, watching the trial and being in San Francisco triggered thoughts about the city, its social hierarchy, the Hearsts, and her own upbringing in Sacramento. Here, too, is the beginning of her thinking about the West, its landscape, the western women who were heroic for her, and her own lineage.

written by David Grossman, translated by Jessica Cohen - Fiction

In a little dive in a small Israeli city, Dov Greenstein, a comedian a bit past his prime, is doing a night of standup. In the audience is a district court justice, Avishai Lazar, whom Dov knew as a boy, along with a few others who remember Dov as the awkward, scrawny kid who walked on his hands to confound the neighborhood bullies. Gradually, teetering between hilarity and hysteria, Dov's patter becomes a kind of memoir, taking us back into the terrors of his childhood. Finally, recalling his week at a military camp for youth --- where Lazar witnessed what became the central event of Dov's childhood --- Dov describes the indescribable while Lazar wrestles with his own part in the comedian's story of loss and survival.