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Wisconsin Native, Novelist Michelle Brafman, Returns to JCC

Mar. 28, 2017
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Seventeen linked stories of neighbors, family members and work colleagues make up the poignant and creative collection Bertrand Court, a new novel by John Hopkins and George Washington University professor Michelle Brafman. These delightful and engrossing tales take place just outside Washington D.C., but the characters themselves could have been set anywhere in the country. As the daily lives of different narrators intertwine with those of their suburban neighbors and (mostly) Jewish family members, they give new meaning to our complicated relationships and our shared human fragility.


Brafman’s insightful and emotional stories, which span roughly 15 years and follow an eclectic, intergenerational group of people living in the same neighborhood, share alternating and evolving perspectives on similar situations. These powerful stories move fluidly from uplifting accounts of holiday celebrations, to woeful tales of death and unexpected pregnancy loss, to unplanned infidelities and deaths. What ties together all the characters that inhabit Bertrand Court, a suburban D.C. cul de sac community, is their remarkable and refreshing humanity.


Brafman’s 2015 book Washing the Dead is rooted in Jewish religious history and tells the searing tale of three generations of women in Milwaukee. Her essays and writings have appeared in Slate, The Washington Post, Lilith Magazine and numerous other publications. Since 2003, Brafman has led Yeah Write, a writing coaching business. A native of White Fish Bay, Brafman will return home for an appearance at the Harry and Rose Samson Jewish Community Center (6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Whitefish Bay) on Sunday, April 2 at 4:30 p.m. in an event co-sponsored by Boswell Book Co.

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