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Eugene Nadelman: A Tale of the 1980s in Verse

Eugene Nadelman: A Tale of the 1980s in Verse

Michael Weingrad

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134-page paperback / 5" x 8.5" / ISBN 9781589881938
Publication date 9/17/24 (available for preorder)

Full of humor, pathos, and pop cultural references, Eugene Nadelman is a tale of young love and American manners in the era of Ronald Reagan and MTV—written in the witty sonnet form of Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin.

It’s 1982, and teenaged Eugene attends his cousin’s bar mitzvah in suburban Philadelphia. There he meets a kindred spirit in the savvy, sensitive Abigail. But when Eugene’s best friend also becomes smitten with Abby, a tragic rivalry ensues and, just as in the Pushkin poem, one character kills another in a duel. (Well, in a Dungeons & Dragons game, in this case.) 

Eugene and Abby’s romance deepens against a backdrop of '80s music, fashion, and VHS rentals—with serious world events like AIDS and the Cold War hovering overhead. But when Eugene leaves for sleepaway camp and Abby for Europe, temptations abound, and one question becomes paramount: can their love survive a summer separation?

“Move over, Onegin—we’ve a new Eugene for the ages. In Michael Weingrad’s wildly charming and profound telling, young Eugene Nadelman’s adolescence in 1980s Philadelphia unfolds in iambic tetrameter, with each crush and clash and heartache feeling as epic as they do for the young and the hopeful. If you’ve ever spun the bottle or leered furtively at someone across the dancefloor, you’ll find yourself transformed by Weingrad’s wit, wonder, and heart, and, like young Eugene himself, grow wiser.”
—Liel Leibovitz, editor at large, Tablet Magazine

Eugene Nadelman is the book that Lord Byron would have written if he had been an American Jewish teenager in the 1980s. With effortlessly brilliant rhymes, perfect recall for period details, and bittersweet blend of nostalgia and satire, Michael Weingrad offers us literary pleasures of a kind that most contemporary poets have forgotten—if they ever knew it existed.”
—Adam Kirsch

"Smart, funny, and full of charm, Eugene Nadelman is a perfect coupling of form and content. Simultaneously a glorious evocation of a specific time, place, and atmosphere, and a timeless love story worthy of Pushkin’s Eugene."
—Maya Arad, author of The Hebrew Teacher



Michael Weingrad
is the author of American Hebrew Literature: Writing Jewish National Identity in the United States. He was born and raised in Philadelphia, attending McCall and Masterman public schools. Today, he lives in Portland, Oregon where he is a professor of Jewish Studies at Portland State University.

 

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