TSR: What does the word "story" mean to you?
AE: The thing that is told, but more importantly, that is not told, and just waits to be discovered in the white margins surrounding the words.
Alex Epstein and I had adjacent rooms in the hostel in Iowa when we attended the International Writers' Programme in 2007. I tolerated my view of gravel, bricks, and air-con units for an unhealthy length of time; Alex broke out and found his own digs in town. Quietly subversive, astute and tender-hearted, a lover of cats, Alex the writer has been billed the new Borges of Israel. It's a privilege to have four of his gems in Slightly Peculiar Short Stories. In his new collection, Lunar Saving Time, 'humor, stubborn memory, and strange beauty meet and part ways in less than a page'; this follows Blue Has No South, 2009, from which the four stories are taken for SPLS.
Clockroot Books publish works in translation and I'm taken with their mission statement: 'As there’s a movement of late to return lawn to meadow and wildflowers and vegetable gardens, so we’d like to see the sameness of much of what’s championed in American contemporary fiction ruffled by the disorder of literature that’s wilder, inevitable as a dandelion spotting the lawn, clarifying as its bitter greens at the end of a long winter.' (Got to love that since a portion of our lawn has gone to the bees.)
But ruffling and clarifying: that's Alex, and you can meet him, interviewed and reviewed in The Short Review.
The moment that he decided to write prose was a blessed moment for the Hebrew literature of our times. —Gliad Seri Levi