Death by Pastrami

by Leonard S. Bernstein

160 pages • $16.95 • November 2014 • ISBN: 9781608010271 • Add to Cart

In these seventeen wry stories, Bernstein introduces us to the unsung residents of NYC’s garment district—proud lace sewers, unscrupulous ragmen, and salesmen with a penchant for stolen pens. Bernstein is a master of brevity—most stories clock in at under ten pages—and he is most concerned with the particulars of human yearning. A man offers a million dollars for a “first-rate” human heart. An engineer chooses the suit he will wear every day for the rest of his life. A funeral salesman discovers the deadly power of the pastrami sandwich. In their breadth, these stories capture a New York that recedes further into memory every year: a garment district populated by people with at least a passing acquaintanceship with the old country and older ways of making things. 

"Most of Bernstein's stories end with the literary equivalent of a shrug -- a distinctive New York gesture. These stories are both quaint and timeless, a fanciful addition to the literature of place..." Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air


"Terse, funny, poignant, honest -- like Malamud's before him, Leonard Bernstein's stories attempt to sanctify the ordinary, and in the process they provide the reader with an experience as humanizing as it is entertaining." Steve Stern, author of The Frozen Rabbi

"Taking a broad view of the mostly vanished world of New York’s garment district, an anonymous old-world village, and their surrounding societies, the stories read like cautionary fables: a funeral salesman who haunts delis to wait for people to die of smoked-meat overdose finds himself alone on a block full of pastrami shops at night with a pressing hunger; a man determined to wear the same suit every day becomes a kind of symbol for the dangers of over-certainty." Leah Falk, Jewniverse

Leonard S. Bernstein on writing.

To read a story from Death by Pastrami, click here.
To listen to an interview with Leonard on WFUV's Cityscape, click here.

Leonard S. Bernstein is an author of five books, including Getting Published and "How's Business?" -- "Don't Ask." He is also an executive in the apparel industry. He was born in Brooklyn, NY and currently lives in Westbury, Long Island. He graduated from the University of Michigan.




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