City of Laughter

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Product Details
$27.00  $25.11
Grove Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.2 X 1.5 inches | 1.15 pounds

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About the Author
Temim Fruchter is a queer nonbinary writer who was raised in a Modern Orthodox Jewish household. She holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Maryland, and has received first prize in short fiction from both American Literary Review and New South; she is a 2020 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award winner. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Praise for City of Laughter:

A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice

A Most Anticipated Book from Nylon, San Francisco Chronicle, Them, Stylecaster, Electric Literature, Our Culture, and Hey Alma

"[A] brainy and richly textured debut . . . Bringing a queer sensibility and a deep understanding of Modern Orthodox Jewish tradition to novel writing, Fruchter asks whether finding comfort in mystery is a viable alternative to standard happy endings or bleak fates. 'City of Laughter' argues that flouting convention makes space for more authentic, expansive stories and more authentic, expansive lives . . . In this book, a new generation accepts the complicated lacunae of history; what they can't abide is silence and obstruction."--New York Times

"[A] remarkable debut novel . . . [This novel] is a collection of beautiful scraps--scraps of folktales and memory, hidden family histories, love letters, accounts of strange happenings in the past and present--all tangled together and rewoven into a whole that's strange, lush, imaginative and pulsing with life . . . [The prose] moves from shimmering and dreamlike to sharply funny to wonderfully contemplative . . . This is a book full of belly laughs, intergenerational wonder, queer beauty, Jewish history, and storytelling that reshapes worlds."--BookPage (starred review)

"A striking portrait of the power of queer imagination . . . both wondrous and circadian . . . With City of Laughter, Fruchter has crafted an intellectual but still deeply emotional narrative, one that pauses to contemplate but never feels lost in its musings and meanderings . . . a genuinely immersive read. Conventional wisdom would have us believe a porous story is unsatisfying, but City of Laughter proves quite the opposite. Lines between generations can melt away. Holes in a story can frustrate, but they can also be filled with queer imagination."--Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Autostraddle

"A gorgeous exploration of ancestry and queer Jewish life . . . stunning."--Shondaland

"[A] deliciously spellbinding debut by [a] literary star-on-the-rise . . . [In City of Laughter, ] we're reminded that the stories we inherit, whether told or untold, are the ones that guide us to the questions we were born to ask, and what we find (or don't) will find its rightful place in the blank pages we were born to fill."--Greg Mania, Stylecaster

"[Fruchter] is uber-talented, and she proves it in her debut novel, City of Laughter, an amalgam of sapphic love, family secrets, and Jewish folklore . . . Fruchter's ingenuity is on full display . . . [She] entices her readers by creating formidable and interrelated forces. With her intergenerational debut novel, uniquely blending queerness, Jewish spirituality, and generational silence, Fruchter manages to captivate us on every page."--Wayne Catan, Washington City Paper

"City of Laughter is one of the most ambitious and thought-provoking books I've ever read."--Cathy Alter, Washington Independent Review of Books

"In the opening pages of Temim Fruchter's debut novel, she writes that laughter serves as 'both a balm and a mask for the sad parts' of life, a perfect encapsulation of the comfort that this story offers."--San Francisco Chronicle Datebook

"A wondrous intergenerational story of queerness and Jewish folklore . . . Fruchter draws on folk tales both real and imagined to create a tender and unforgettable portrait of Jewish culture, faith, and community. This dazzling and hopeful novel is not to be missed."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"With prose that is erudite and alive, this fantastic debut novel explores queer love, first heartbreak, the loss of parents, and the deeply human desire for ancestral connection."--Booklist

"In a story that weaves together past and present, mirth and sorrow, history and folklore, there's no way you won't come away moved by City of Laughter."--Sophie Yarin, BU Today

"City of Laughter is a gorgeous and full-hearted exploration of inheritance, grief, desire, and connection, at once a story about what it means to go looking for the ghosts we always knew were there and what it means to be in the right place to encounter the unexpected things we didn't know we were waiting for. A sharply observed, tenderly complex, and wildly delightful debut by an original and impressive new voice."--Danielle Evans, author of The Office of Historical Corrections

"A debut novel that explores queerness, Judaism, and international sagas, City of Laughter is a detailed and moving portrait of women trying to find themselves."--Sam Franzini, Our Culture

"City of Laughter has the sparkle and fire of something truly rare. Deeply developed and carefully crafted, this novel is chock full of wit and tenderness and an incredible amount of heart. Temim Fruchter is a steady hand when it comes to assessing the deep tangle of fraught family dynamics. History sits inside itself here, its heartbeat echoing out into the future, rippling like silk. Without question, City of Laughter is one of the most thoughtful and thought-provoking books I've ever read."--Kristen Arnett, author of the novel With Teeth

"If you like sagas that span generations and origin stories, this book is for you."--Hey Alma

"Temim Fruchter's City of Laughter is deeply ambitious, deeply fun, queer mythological storytelling at its finest. A powerful, profound, beautifully-told and thought-provoking debut."--Jordy Rosenberg, author of Confessions of the Fox

"City of Laughter is a rich, lyrical portrait of four generations of unruly longings, a multigenerational tale of seeking, of laughter, of the sacred hiding in plain sight. Every line is haunted by loving ghosts."--Zeyn Joukhadar, author of The Thirty Names of Night

"Reading City of Laughter is like stumbling upon an heirloom treasure chest: richly imagined, painstakingly crafted, full of delights. In sonorous, inventive writing that pays homage to a glorious folkloric tradition, Fruchter gives us the stories of queer Jewish femmes through the varied generations of an unforgettable family."--Sarah Thankam Mathews, author of All This Could Be Different

"City of Laughter is a bountiful, curious, huge-hearted celebration of desire and memory, illuminating the eternal, indestructible nature of queer inheritance, and reminding us yet again that history is folklore and folklore is history."--Elisa Albert, author of Human Blues

"Temim Fruchter's debut novel is moving, funny, beautifully crafted, rich with insight, and wildly gripping. The queer Jewish femme multi-generational family saga I didn't know I needed!"--Andrea Lawlor, author of Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl

"An absolute pleasure, a thrilling journey that endlessly finds new ways to surprise and delight, challenge, and enthrall. Very few debut novels are as ambitious as this; even fewer deliver on even their biggest promises so assuredly."--Matt Bell, author of Appleseed