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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 Three of his short stories have won prizes, and he has written an as-yet-unpublished novel.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 Ann Beattie - Fiction, Short Stories

“We build worlds for ourselves wherever we go,” writes Ann Beattie. THE STATE WE’RE IN, her new collection of linked stories, is about how we live in the places we have chosen --- or been chosen by. It’s about the stories we tell our families, our friends and ourselves, the truths we may or may not see, how our affinities unite or repel us, and where we look for love.

by James Neff - History, Nonfiction, Politics

From 1957 to 1964, Robert Kennedy and Jimmy Hoffa channeled nearly all of their considerable powers into destroying each other. Kennedy's battle with Hoffa burst into the public consciousness with the 1957 Senate Rackets Committee hearings and intensified when his brother named him attorney general in 1961. RFK put together a "Get Hoffa" squad within the Justice Department, devoted to destroying one man. But Hoffa, with nearly unlimited Teamster funds, was not about to roll over.

by Milan Kundera - Fiction

Set in Paris today, THE FESTIVAL OF INSIGNIFICANCE follows four friends who run into each other in the Luxembourg Gardens, attend parties, and conduct a long-running exchange on sex, desire, history, art, even the meaning of human existence. Alain, one of the friends, is fascinated by the exposed belly buttons of passing women --- the latest fashion --- and takes navel-gazing to imaginative, erotic heights. Another, who has just been told that he does not have cancer, tells a friend that his case is terminal.

by Etgar Keret - Memoir, Nonfiction

The seven years between the birth of Etgar Keret’s son and the death of his father were good years, though still full of reasons to worry. Lev is born in the midst of a terrorist attack. Etgar’s father gets cancer. The threat of constant war looms over their home and permeates daily life. Etgar’s siblings, all very different people who have chosen radically divergent paths in life, come together after his father’s shivah to experience the grief and love that tie a family together forever.

by Graham Swift - Fiction, Short Stories

Meet Dr. Shah, who has never been to India, and Mrs. Kaminski, on her way to Poland; meet Holly and Polly, who have come to their own Anglo-Irish understanding, and Charlie and Don, who have seen the docks turn into Docklands; Daisy Baker, who is terrified of Yorkshire; and Johnny Dewhurst, stranded on Exmoor. Graham Swift steers us from the 17th century to the present day, from world-shaking events to the secret dramas lived out in rooms, workplaces and homes.

by Aleksandar Hemon - Fiction

Josh Levin is an aspiring screenwriter teaching ESL classes in Chicago. His laptop is full of ideas, but the only one to really take root is Zombie Wars. When Josh comes home to discover his landlord, an unhinged army vet, rifling through his dirty laundry, he decides to move in with his girlfriend, Kimmy. It's domestic bliss for a moment, but Josh becomes entangled with a student, a Bosnian woman named Ana, whose husband is jealous and violent. Disaster ensues.

by Oliver Sacks - Memoir, Nonfiction

From its opening pages on his youthful obsession with motorcycles and speed, ON THE MOVE is infused with Oliver Sacks’ restless energy. As he recounts his experiences as a young neurologist in the early 1960s, first in California, where he struggled with drug addiction, and then in New York, where he discovered a long-forgotten illness in the back wards of a chronic hospital, we see how his engagement with patients comes to define his life.

by Bruce Eric Kaplan - Memoir, Nonfiction

Bruce Eric Kaplan, also known as BEK, is one of the most celebrated and admired cartoonists in America. I WAS A CHILD is the story of his childhood in words and drawings, in which he recalls growing up in New Jersey with his parents and two older brothers. It would seem like a conventional childhood, although Kaplan’s anecdotes are accompanied by his signature drawings of family outings and life at home --- road trips, milk crates, hamsters, ashtrays, wigs, a platypus and much more.

by Jonathan D. Sarna and Benjamin Shapell - History, Nonfiction

One hundred and fifty years after Abraham Lincoln’s death, the full story of his extraordinary relationship with Jews is told here for the first time. LINCOLN AND THE JEWS provides readers both with a captivating narrative of his interactions with Jews, and with the opportunity to immerse themselves in rare manuscripts and images --- many from the Shapell Lincoln Collection --- that show Lincoln in a way he has never been seen before.

by Jonathan Lethem - Fiction, Short Stories

Jonathan Lethem’s third collection of stories uncovers a father’s nervous breakdown at SeaWorld; a foundling child rescued from the woods during a blizzard; a political prisoner in a hole in a Brooklyn street; and a crumbling, haunted “blog” on a seaside cliff. As in his novels, Lethem finds the uncanny lurking in the mundane, the irrational self-defeat seeping through our upstanding pursuits, and the tragic undertow of the absurd world(s) in which we live.