Michael Lowenthal

News & Announcements

2021

  • February 4, 2021
  • The Rumpus is running an exclusive "cover reveal" for Sex with Strangers, including commentary from Michael and from Jennifer Conn, art director at the University of Wisconsin Press. Thanks to Jeremy John Parker for his fantastic design.

2020

  • December 10, 2020
  • The official publication date has been set for Michael's fifth book, a short story collection called Sex with Strangers.
  • The book will be available on March 23, 2021.

Read more

2018

  • June 7, 2018
  • The Paternity Test, Michael's 2012 novel, is being released today, for the first time, in a paperback edition! Check out the new cover design!
  • June 1, 2018
  • For those who prefer e-reading, Michael's memoir "Unmolested" is now available in a Kindle edition.
  • May 22, 2018
  • Michael's short story "Uncle Kent" appears in the Spring 2018 issue of The Louisville Review.
  • May 8, 2018
  • Michael's memoir "Unmolested" appears in TRUE STORY, an offshoot of Creative Nonfiction magazine. The publisher's description: In the wake of a sex-abuse scandal at an all-boys’ summer camp, an openly gay alum returns as a “guest-star counselor.” But then, he finds himself not only a role model but also the object of an adolescent camper’s crush. (For anyone familiar with Michael's novel AVOIDANCE, this piece tells some of the real story behind—and beyond—the fiction.)
  • * * The essay is published as a stand-alone mini magazine, available for $3 and sent through the mail.
  • April 18, 2018
  • Michael has a new short story, "Thieves," in the online magazine Guernica. The story is set on an island in Brazil, a setting inspired by his time at the Sacatar Institute in Bahia.

2016

  • September 5, 2016
  • Three of Michael's shorter works (two personal essays and a short story) have just been released as audio books on Audible.com--the very first audio editions of any of his work! You can listen to excerpts and buy the audio books here: You Don't See The Other Person Looking Back, Used-car Salesman, and Ordinary Pain. Many thanks to Yael Goldstein Love, Jennifer 8 Lee, and the other folks at Plympton, who selected these stories, and to the editors of Tin House, The Rumpus, and Witness, where these pieces were originally published.
  • August 17, 2016
  • Michael's essay about playing trumpet with the avant-garde jazz legend Sun Ra has just been published as an e-book by Ploughshares magazine. It's on sale for $1.99, and will also soon be available on Amazon and BN.com.
  • April 15, 2016
  • Michael has published a brand-new essay at The Rumpus.

2015

2013

  • September 26, 2013
  • The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute's online magazine, 614 HBI, features an interview with Michael in their "Fiction Favorites" issue.
  • May 2, 2013
  • J. Weekly, the Jewish newspaper of the Bay Area, reviews The Paternity Test alongside The Mothers, by Jennifer Gilmore — who attended Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School with Michael in the 1980's. Go Barons!
  • February 18, 2013
  • Talking Writing, an online magazine for writers, has posted an interview with Michael about his writing process, fame (or the lack thereof), and the question of motivation.

2012

  • December 30, 2012
  • Psychology Today has included The Paternity Test in a list of "11 Delicious New Novels," calling the book "Psychologically astute and realistic."
  • December 10, 2012
  • For any book clubs interested in discussing The Paternity Test, the publisher has posted a list of twelve Questions for Discussion.
  • November 29, 2012
  • The Paternity Test was mentioned by a few generous colleagues on the Band of Thebes list of Best LGBT Books of 2012. Michael Downing, author of Life With Sudden Death and Breakfast with Scot, calls the novel "a sly and sophisticated social comedy that zips along so entertainingly that you don't notice the sun setting, the smiles fading, and the clouds roiling overhead until the gathering storm is upon you. Michael Lowenthal drives you right into the heart of a genuine mystery -- why it is so unnerving to discover who you are."
  • November 29, 2012
  • Thanks to Amos Lassen for putting The Paternity Test on his list of Top Ten LGBT Books of 2012. Also, book blogs continue to respond to the novel. At Chick Lit Central, Leonel Escota writes, "Just when you think the story is turning one way, [Lowenthal] will throw you a curve ball that changes the direction of the story. He does this several times so that you will feel emotionally invested in these characters, and the last quarter of the book, particularly, is such a page-turner. It is one of those books where you dread turning the page because you care so much about the characters and you become petrified to see the consequences of their actions."
  • November 16, 2012
  • Rachel Kadish, author of the novels Tolstoy Lied and From a Sealed Room, has published an interview with Michael at the Ploughshares magazine blog. As its title suggests, the interview covers topics including "Orthodoxy, Humor, and the Bookstore of Your Dreams."
  • November 14, 2012
  • In the Jewish Daily Forward, Judy Bolton-Fasman has written a generous profile of Michael and The Paternity Test. She writes: "Versatility is a hallmark of Lowenthal's work, as is the 43-year-old writer's gift for language and depth of character."
  • November 13, 2012
  • The book-blogosphere has been giving The Paternity Test some strong notices. A 5-star review at WTFAreYourReading calls the book "a truly monumental work." Over at A Novel Review, a "highly recommended" write-up says that the novel "pulls you in and makes you feel as if you are part of the story." And at Chapters and Chats, another five-star review notes, "Michael Lowenthal knows how to write. The depths of his characters' personalities bring them to life as each have their own demons to overcome." More reviews to come, as the "blog tour" continues . . .
  • November 12, 2012
  • The Concord Monitor's Mindful Reader column calls The Paternity Test "a searing psychological drama."
  • November 8, 2012
  • In his Jewish Book World review, Wayne Hoffman, author of Sweet Like Sugar, calls The Paternity Test "a compelling read for anyone who wants to know what family truly means today."
  • November 4, 2012
  • In advance of Michael's appearance at next weekend's Wisconsin Book Festival, the Isthmus in Madison is running an interview with Michael. Rosemary Zurlo-Cuva's introduction begins: "It's one thing for a fiction writer to take on large and knotty subjects like pedophilia, surrogacy, and the intersection of Judaism and sexual identity. It is quite another to tell these stories with the sort of nuanced and fully fleshed-out characters that make Michael Lowenthal and his work both important and eminently readable."
  • November 4, 2012
  • In the Lambda Literary Review, David-Matthew Barnes has written a positive review of The Paternity Test. He writes: "The beauty of The Paternity Test is Lowenthal's brilliant ability to make the sexuality of his two gay characters secondary. Instead, the focus here is much more universal."
  • October 26, 2012
  • The Advocate includes The Paternity Test in this week's "Hot Sheet," its list of "Top 10 entertainment highlights on our gaydar."
  • October 24, 2012
  • Chaney Kwak conducts a wide-ranging interview with Michael at The Rumpus, discussing politics, parenting, Jewish literature, and the teaching of creative writing.
  • October 8, 2012
  • The Boston Globe review of The Paternity Test says, "Lowenthal's snappy dialogue moves the story along and reveals complexities among the characters, and Pat's first-person narration provides insight into the many often-conflicting motivations behind parenthood."
  • October 5, 2012
  • The Bay Area Reporter reviews The Paternity Test, calling it "breezy, entertaining, and, above all, relevant." The paper is also running Tim Miller's interview with Michael. Thanks to Tim for all his support!
  • October 3, 2012
  • In the travel magazine Passport, Jim Gladstone names The Paternity Test as this month's "Airplane Read of the Month," calling it "at once heartbreaking and groundbreaking." He goes on to say, "Paternity tests aren’t taken for grades, but this one nonetheless deserves an A."
  • At LitReactor.com, the wonderful film scholar Ed Sikov conducts an interview with Michael. Learn more about Ed's books here.
  • October 2, 2012
  • Long Island Pulse magazine is running a very strong review of The Paternity Test, saying, "You have to love a story that makes you a little scared to move on to the next chapter because you've come to care about the characters so much. . . If you miss The Paternity Test, in fact, you'll kick yourself."
  • October 1, 2012
  • Lambda Literary has just posted an interview with Michael, conducted by author Michael Graves, author of the wonderful short-story collection Dirty One."
  • September 30, 2012
  • The Sunday Boston Globe's "Word on the Street" column lists The Paternity Test as its Pick of the Week, as recommended by Alise Hamilton of the Andover Bookstore: "Readers won't be able to help rooting for Pat and Stu as they struggle to conceive a child through surrogacy and fight their family's — and their own — preconceived notions of what it means to be gay, all while trying to salvage their rocky relationship. Lowenthal's novel ultimately addresses the universal question: What makes a family a family?"
  • September 27, 2012
  • Performer and author Tim Miller interviews Michael in Bay Windows, New England's LGBT newspaper.
  • September 3, 2012
  • The Paternity Test has been selected for IndieBound's October 2012 Indie Next List of "Great Reads from Booksellers You Trust."
  • August 30, 2012
  • The Band of Thebes blog links The Paternity Test with NBC's controversial sitcom "The New Normal," as part of the "gay surrogate boom." The blog includes a link to the full pilot episode.

2009

  • March 3, 2009
  • Michael has been named winner of the 2009 James Duggins Mid-Career Author Award, to be presented in May at the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans. The award recognizes "mid-career novelists of extraordinary talent and service to the LGBT community."

2008

2007

  • December 31, 2007
  • Do Me, the just-published anthology from Tin House, which includes Michael's account of taking a Mexican cruise with a group of blind gay men, has received a great review in the Los Angeles Times, and another in today's New York Times.
  • December 17, 2007
  • Charity Girl has arrived in paperback! The official publication date for the Mariner paperback edition isn't until January 8, but the book is already available online and in most stores.
  • October 9, 2007
  • Michael was honored to read at this season's opening night for Tracy Slater's fantastic Four Stories series, along with writers Hank Phillippi Ryan and Kris Frieswick. An MP3 of Michael's reading ó from Chapter 3 of Charity Girl ó can be downloaded here, or at the past events page of the Four Stories site.
  • July 1, 2007
  • The Salt Lake Tribune and a bunch of other McClatchy newspapers carry a strong review of Charity Girl.
  • June 11, 2007
  • Bookslut, one of the best and most-visited book blogs on the Web, has posted a lovely review of Charity Girl, which says that the novel establishes Michael as "one of the country's finest authors."
  • In other news, a new short story of Michael's is included in a just-released fiction anthology. Between Men, edited by Richard Canning, is available in stores now. Other writers featured include Andrew Holleran, Edmund White, and Vestal McIntyre.
  • April 17, 2007
  • Word has come in of a March 10 radio feature about Esquire's "Napkin Fiction" project (see previous entries), broadcast on the public-radio show Weekend America. Among the featured stories is Michael's, read in his own voice.
  • March 29, 2007
  • Michael has taped an interview for WNPR's "Faith Middleton Show." Listeners in Connecticut can hear the segment live on Monday, April 2, at 3 p.m.; others can find it online.
  • March 22, 2007
  • Hometown coverage: The Roslindale Transcript's profile of Michael, according to his mother and sister, captures him better than any of the previous articles.
  • March 18, 2007
  • Sarah Weinman's excellent review of Charity Girl appears in today's Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • March 7, 2007
  • For the New England-area morning commuters among you: Michael will be appearing on The Peter Blute Show. The interview is scheduled for Tuesday, March 13, at 8:35 a.m. Tune your radios to 830 AM, or listen online at WCRNradio.com.
  • March 1, 2007
  • Charity Girl goes audiovisual . . .
  • Michael has appeared recently on a number of public radio programs, and the shows can be found online. Click here for his appearance on WNYC's "The Leonard Lopate Show"; or here for his appearance on PRI's "Fair Game," with Faith Salie. He also appeared on WUML's "Sunrise."
  • For those who haven't been able to come in person to one of Michael's readings, his recent San Francisco appearance at Books Inc. is now available online via Fora TV; click here to watch the video.
  • And finally, for those in a more humorous mood, check out the podcast of Michael's conversation in Los Angeles with playwright and storyteller Prince Gomolvilas; it's the February 27, 2007 episode.
  • February 11, 2007
  • Charity Girl is a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice. There's also a feature about the book, by Dan Pope, in today's Hartford Courant.
  • February 8, 2007
  • A review of Charity Girl in USA Today says, "Expect to be drawn into this absorbing page-turner."
  • February 7, 2007
  • Nextbook.org, the "gateway to Jewish literature, culture, and ideas," has posted a feature on Charity Girl, including an interview.
  • February 4, 2007
  • Elizabeth Gaffney's excellent review of Charity Girl appears in today's New York Times Book Review.
  • January 29, 2007
  • A feature about Michael and Charity Girl, written by David Mehegan, appears in today's Boston Globe, along with a strong review of the novel.
  • January 27, 2007
  • Charity Girl is #10 on the Boston Globe bestseller list.
  • January 23, 2007
  • Some non-Charity Girl news . . .
  • Esquire has launched The Napkin Project. They mailed cocktail napkins to a large group of writers, asking each writer to scribble an original story that could fit on that small (and traditionally scribble-worthy) canvas: "the kind of story or list or note that might be crammed in a pocket and pulled out years later to tell something deep and forgotten."
  • At Esquire's Web site, you can read Michael Lowenthal's contribution to the project, "The War on Terror." (For a typed version of the story, scroll past the photo of the napkin.)
  • Other favorite writers who have contributed to the project include Benjamin Percy, Tony Eprile, Kent Haruf, and Andrew Sean Greer.
  • January 20, 2007
  • A wonderful article about Charity Girl and the history behind it appears in today's New York Times. It places Charity Girl "in the vein of . . . Sister Carrie."

2006

  • December 29, 2006
  • A nice notice in Boston Magazine:
  • "Through the hardships of a fictional girl at a detention camp, Lowenthal skillfully lends voice to these women, while raising issues that feel relevant and immediate today."
  • December 17, 2006
  • A positive early review of Charity Girl in The Buffalo News:
  • "Well-told, finely detailed. . . manages to both illuminate and entertain. It's a real find."
  • December 7, 2006
  • Charity Girl has been named a BookSense Pick for January.
  • Thanks to all the independent booksellers who nominated it for this honor.
  • For more information, click here.

Reviews

  • Sex With Strangers: Stories
  • The Paternity Test
  • Charity Girl
  • Avoidance
  • The Same Embrace

Sex With Strangers: Stories

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"In this pitch-perfect collection of sly, shapely stories, Michael Lowenthal turns his discerning eye on relationships up and down the Kinsey scale. What a tremendous gift to read such wise insights into the various ways people seduce, betray, surprise, and ultimately transform each other." Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men

"What a stunning book this is, throwing off sparks at every turn. Michael Lowenthal's characters tread as close as they dare to intimacy, then closer. I can't remember the last time I read a collection this good." Rachel Kadish, author of The Weight of Ink

"This book, just like seeking sex with strangers in real life, is sometimes risky, sometimes about loneliness, and continuously offers lessons about the roots and vagrancies of our own desire. Sex with Strangers always leaves an impression and reminds us of the eternal resurrection of hope in the human heart." Justin Torres, author of We the Animals

"In sharp and often surprising prose, Lowenthal writes compelling, memorable characters, both queer and straight, who desire some form of intimacy. They want to be understood or seen, and they want to know themselves." Carter Sickels, author of The Prettiest Star

The Paternity Test

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"A beautifully told story that brings myriad social issues to the forefront, and also manages to be a literary page-turner." Jewish Daily Forward

"The Paternity Test is at once heartbreaking and groundbreaking. It's a brave, warts-and-all examination of a troubled gay couple ... who take dramatic measures in an effort to mend their fraying open relationship.... Paternity tests aren't taken for grades, but this one nonetheless deserves an A." Jim Gladstone, Passport Magazine

"A compelling, painstakingly honest portrait of a gay couple's logistical and emotional journey to become parents ... a quintessential page-turner." Edge.com

"... readers—both gay and straight—will come away from Lowenthal's novel with a deeper understanding not only of the ethical issues surrounding surrogacy, but also of the ever-evolving gay community." Publishers Weekly

"The beauty of The Paternity Test is Lowenthal's brilliant ability to make the sexuality of his two gay characters secondary. Instead, the focus here is much more universal: it's about a relationship between two people. Gender is not significant. What matters here is love. Sure, it's a complicated, messy, and somewhat dysfunctional love, but it reads and feels like the real thing." Lambda Literary Review

"Lowenthal manages to deal deftly with a huge range of topical issues: interfaith relationships, sibling rivalries, parental expectations, infidelity, the fluidity of desire, and the diversity of Jewish culture... . In Lowenthal's capable hands, The Paternity Test shows the novelist's enduring hallmarks: accessible prose, depth of emotion, and a keen sense of empathy for all of his characters—flaws and all. A compelling read for anyone who wants to know what family truly means today." Wayne Hoffman, Jewish Book World

"Thrilling, funny, sexy, and psychologically complex." Tim Miller for Bay Windows

"Breezy, entertaining, and above all, relevant.... The author has an uncanny eye for detail and the ability to shore up an entire relationship or the unobvious mood in a room with an economy of exacting, carefully chosen words.... Nice work from a talented New England-based author who just keeps getting better." Bay Area Reporter

"Lowenthal's snappy dialogue moves the story along and reveals complexities among the characters, and Pat's first-person narration provides insight into the many often-conflicting motivations behind parenthood.... The parallel story line about Stu's family and his sister's struggles with fertility and adoption offers a useful counterpoint to the main plot, where issues of family, identity, desire, and responsibility collide ... On the whole, Lowenthal handles these many strands with aplomb." Boston Globe

"You have to love a story that makes you a little scared to move on to the next chapter because you've come to care about the characters so much... Rich with angst and eagerness, laced with past-inflicted pain, and yet ... still hopeful.... One of those novels that will stick in your mind. If you miss The Paternity Test, in fact, you'll kick yourself." Long Island Pulse

"Groundbreaking ... With The Paternity Test, Lowenthal shows the same courage he has demonstrated throughout his career by delving into how our private desires collide with our public allegiances." The Rumpus

"Psychologically astute and realistic, the story readily engages the reader in the emotional ups and downs of the journey." Psychology Today

"Lowenthal's descriptions wrest the reader directly into his characters' struggles and delights. Even when his books grapple with questions of sexuality and power, there's nothing didactic or abstract in them. We experience Lowenthal's fictional worlds right alongside his characters—and those worlds are quirky and terrifying and sensuous and redeeming, and absolutely recognizable." Ploughshares blog

"Lowenthal offers a solid read on how relationships hold up or wither away under great stress and what it means to be a family. Sure to appeal to both heterosexual and gay/lesbian readers." Library Journal

"A page-turner thanks to its realistic characters and a situation that might hit close to home for some." The Advocate

"Credit Lowenthal with taking what could have been a safe, sweet story and turning it into something knotted and barbed.... Lowenthal is aiming for something truer to life." Washington Post

"A searing psychological drama." Concord Monitor

"[Lowenthal] convincingly conveys the emotions of a group of people who are trying to start a family and the frustration that comes when it doesn't happen on schedule. Never in a hurry, The Paternity Test starts out at a slow and gentle trot, but works up to brisk pace and, in time, to a can't-look-away ending that will leave readers feeling both shaken and pensive." Gay and Lesbian Review

"A deeply felt account of why having a child is not a sustainable way to make a marriage last. Lowenthal takes a melancholic tone from the very beginning and beautifully carries it through the entire novel in both scene and story." The Good Men Project

"A rich and complex story." Boston Spirit Magazine

"Powerful stuff, starting with an intelligent look at the trials of a long-term relationship and ending with a devastating final chapter that I, for one, didn't see coming at all." Ed Sikov, LitReactor.com

"It's one thing for a fiction writer to take on large and knotty subjects like pedophilia, surrogacy, and the intersection of Judaism and sexual identity. It is quite another to tell these stories with the sort of nuanced and fully fleshed-out characters that make Michael Lowenthal and his work both important and eminently readable." Isthmus

"Just when you think the story is turning one way, [Lowenthal] will throw you a curve ball that changes the direction of the story. He does this several times so that you will feel emotionally invested in these characters, and the last quarter of the book, particularly, is such a page-turner. It is one of those books where you dread turning the page because you care so much about the characters and you become petrified to see the consequences of their actions." Chick Lit Central

"A searingly honest portrait of love under fire, a fearless exploration of what it means to be an adult, a couple, a family. It is a story for our time." Jennifer Haigh, author of Faith and Mrs. Kimble

"So many different relationships are put to the test in Michael Lowenthal's thought-provoking novel—not only the bond at the heart of the book between two gay men and the Brazilian woman acting as their surrogate mother, but also the bond between husbands and wives, between siblings, between aging parents and their adult children. The Paternity Test is a complex, emotionally satisfying, and thoroughly engaging story." Tom Perrotta, author of The Leftovers and Little Children

"Michael Lowenthal's new novel deftly and wisely explores the various ways families are formed, altered, and destroyed by charting the vagaries and exigencies of two marriages. I loved the complicated, compelling characters who all come vividly alive in the beautifully evoked Cape Cod setting. The Paternity Test is a riveting and wonderful book." Peter Cameron, author of Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You

"The Paternity Test is a good, old-fashioned page-turner and a sophisticated look at the mysteries of long-term love and the convoluted reasons for wanting a child. Michael Lowenthal writes with intelligence and passion and made me care a great deal about the fates of his flawed, fascinating characters." Stephen McCauley, author of Insignificant Others and The Object of My Affection

"The Paternity Test is an exuberant book—a feat, considering how thoroughly Michael Lowenthal ransacks the human condition for its enduring weaknesses and inevitable disappointments. Yet he manages this with such warmth and wit, bringing to his disparate, often clashing band of characters so much compassionate intelligence, that in the end we can't help rooting for each one to find happiness—even as we come away with a clearer perception of how rightly varied their different versions of happiness may be." Leah Hager Cohen, author of The Grief of Others

Charity Girl

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"Lively and illuminating ... [Lowenthal] has accomplished the difficult feat of marrying the facts of history with the details that make a fictional life come alive. That few readers of Lowenthal's deserving novel will ever have heard of the detention of the 'charity girls' is astonishing. That Lowenthal has made us aware of them is nothing short of a gift." Anita Shreve for Washington Post

"Lowenthal's narrative style is perfect for a heroine who suffers but remains a survivor, striking just the right mix of dark and light, worldly and innocent... A convincing portrait of a long-lost world." New York Times Book Review

"Expect to be drawn into this absorbing page-turner." USA Today

"Engaging historical page-turner ... Lowenthal grasps the brash, unlettered, raucous and messy spirit of the times vividly. It's a measure of the author's success that you keep hoping for a fairy-tale ending even when every clue hints that nothing similar is remotely possible." San Francisco Chronicle

"Charity Girl tells a deeply disturbing story with compassion and sly cleverness." Boston Globe

"Harrowing, yet inspiring, this historical novel explores a shameful secret. ... Rich in period detail, swift-paced prose, and deserved political outrage." Kirkus (Starred Review)

"[Lowenthal] uses the historical footnote as a backdrop for a lively, emotion-laden novel of an irrepressible young woman's punishment for rebelling against upbringing and society, and how imprisonment and calamity brings out hidden strengths." Philadelphia Inquirer

"Captivating ... memorable ... Lowenthal writes in a tempo that keeps this a spirited and exciting story. Recommended for all public libraries." Library Journal

"Lowenthal ably captures the transformation of a naive adolescent into a woman in his provocative story." Publishers Weekly

"A harrowing story." New York Daily News

"Well-told, finely detailed ... manages to both illuminate and entertain. It's a real find." The Buffalo News

"Through the hardships of a fictional girl at a detention camp, Lowenthal skillfully lends voice to these women, while raising issues that feel relevant and immediate today." Boston Magazine

"One of the pleasures of reading historical fiction is discovering forgotten or little-known figures or campaigns of the past. In Charity Girl, Michael Lowenthal has unearthed a doozy and brings it ringingly to life with a contemporary resonance." Hartford Courant

"Charity Girl establishes [Michael Lowenthal] as one of the country's finest authors ... A resplendent, unforgettable novel." Bookslut

"The author uses spiraling tension and haunting imagery as he traces Frieda's journey from awkward adolescent into full-fledged womanhood ... Lowenthal fans will snap this one up." BookPage

"Sensitive ... A haunting reminder of the perils of punishment." Out Magazine

"Engaging ... vividly rendered." The L Magazine

"Even while capturing the great sweep of the period, Charity Girl celebrates most the depth of the characters' lives and the immediate energy of Boston circa World War I. Never opting for simplistic political parallels, Michael Lowenthal evokes empathy in unpredictable and touching ways through his crisp, charming prose. Highly accomplished, Charity Girl is a gift to all readers of quality historical and literary fiction." Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow

"This is a deeply affecting and important novel. With Charity Girl, Michael Lowenthal at a stroke establishes himself as a significant voice in American fiction. All good historical novels mirror the past in ways that interpret the present, and this novel does just that. It's a vivid story about a shameful chapter in U.S. history, and one that has obvious implication for the current political crisis. I was thoroughly engaged by Frieda Mintz, and her life and predicament will stay with me for years to come." Jay Parini, author of The Last Station and The Apprentice Lover

Avoidance

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"The best novel that has come or is likely to come out of the Catholic sexual child-abuse scandal appeared late last year, and it happens to be a work by a Jew in which no Catholic appears. Michael Lowenthal's only contact with the Roman Catholic Church, so far as I know, is that he teaches creative writing at a Catholic university, Boston College. Not to be coy, Avoidance is neither a novel with a Catholic setting nor a roman à clef nor some kind of allegory. The setting is a boys summer camp, and religion is never mentioned in the story. Yet Lowenthal recreates with exceptional honesty and sympathy a poignant human drama of which during the past year the Catholic Church has offered more than its share of examples...

"Reading Lowenthal can be like sparring with a partner who dances around and never stops joking but every so often pops you one right in the kisser...

"[He] makes me think of the novelist Michael Cunningham—not the Cunningham of The Hours but the younger Cunningham of A Home at the End of the World. This is only Lowenthal's second novel, but he has the talent to go as far as Cunningham has gone. He has the same eye and ear for the interiority of "families," whatever shape they take. He has the same uncanny ability to fuse a place and a cast of characters in his reader's mind. He has the same lyricism on tap. And he has, in addition, the abovementioned left jab." Jack Miles, Commonweal Magazine

"...disturbing, elegant and powerful...[Lowenthal] has thrown down one hell of a gauntlet...[his] particular talent as a novelist is exploring gray areas with wisdom and confidence. Disarmingly but beautifully, he's explored the blurry line between selfless love and selfish lust." Mark Athitakis, Washington Post

"Fine writers, at least according to one school of thought, should be disturbers of the peace of mind. They should set sail, that is, to our most turbulent cultural waters and challenge, rather than affirm, our most comfortable pieties. Judging by his second novel, it's easy to suspect that Michael Lowenthal wholeheartedly embraces this philosophy." Andrew Furman, The Miami Herald

"...Michael Lowenthal deserves a medal for courage...[Avoidance] gleams with sensitivity and insight...his metaphor-rich prose grounds the fiction in a vivid landscape of particulars. Themes never override the centrality of this writer's sure-handed storytelling. It's easy to understand the victim of sexual abuse. Lowenthal achieves the much more difficult task of making fully human the potential abuser." Dan Cryer, NewsDay

"...a nod to classic 'homosexual novels' of forbidden love...Michael Lowenthal is shaking off the confines of contemporary gay fiction...Avoidance [is] the sort of literary fiction popular during a time when gay love was written mostly between the lines." Robert Pela, The Advocate

"Lowenthal...crafts a tale at times so disturbing you want to shield your eyes. But his storytelling makes it impossible to look away." Jane H. Ungaschick, Boston Magazine

"...fearless and expertly crafted..." Vanity Fair

"...[A] beautiful and gripping novel that explores the boundaries of desire and its numerous consequences...Avoidance's subtly explored themes of community and exclusion reach a heartbreaking conclusion." Michael Taeckens, Out Magazine

"This finely etched second novel by Lowenthal (The Same Embrace) tells the story of Jeremy Stull, a Harvard graduate student who has lived with the Amish and spends most of his time researching the lives of those excommunicated from Amish communities. During the summer, he is also the assistant director of Camp Ironwood, a haven in the Vermont woods for troubled boys. As he probes the personal lives of these two groups, Jeremy struggles with his own latent homosexuality. Nearly celibate, Jeremy has put off confronting sexual desires that make him uncomfortable, but this comes to an end with the arrival at Ironwood of Max Conner, a charismatic 14-year-old with a tragic family history. In taming the insubordinate Max, Jeremy is reminded of his own childhood, the death of his father and his history at the camp. He also sees some of his own quandaries reflected in the life of Beulah Glick, a lonely Amish woman who decided to leave the fold rather than shun her excommunicated husband. Lowenthal deftly weaves together scenes of Amish and camp life; juxtaposing these two tightly knit communities, he explores the appeal of highly structured, restrictive collectives as well as questions of temptation and self-mastery, faith and belonging. Lowenthal has a fine ear for the vernaculars of urban campers, Harvard academics and the cloistered, bilingual Amish, and he handles the potentially explosive subject of Jeremy's unrequited attraction to Max with subtlety and sensitivity. These different elements form a rich, complex narrative that is as inspiring as it is thought provoking." Publisher's Weekly (Starred)

"Disturbed and displaced by the death of his father as a little boy, Jeremy finds his roots and, indeed, his avocation at Camp Ironwood, where he began as a camper and rose to assistant camp director. In the winter months, as a graduate student, Jeremy studies the Amish people, with particular emphasis on their practice of shunning. Social avoidance and marking those who differ from what is learned may be formalized in the Amish community, but it is very similar to socialization at a boy's camp and to the larger community's reaction to homosexuality. By interweaving and comparing those three types of social avoidance, as well as studying what it means to protect kinship and fellowship, Lowenthal (The Same Embrace) shows what it means to be a fallible human. At times haunting and disturbing, his second novel teaches a quiet lesson: one person can, in fact, rein in individual desires and create a community that is stronger than the sum of its parts and thereby find personal redemption. With beautiful characterizations of the boys at Ironwood and a lyrical rendering of a man's conflicting spiritual pulls, Avoidance is not to be missed. Highly recommended." Library Journal (Starred)

"Avoidance walks a precarious tightrope between desire and responsibility, love and passion. Lowenthal's vividly imagined characters are infinitely capable of surprising us, as is his deft plot. This is a novel which asks us to both think and feel and rewards us for both." Margot Livesey, author of Eva Moves the Furniture and The Boy in the Field

"Lowenthal explores the slippery shapes of desire and traces the thin line between thought and deed. A splendid novel, as gripping as it is moving and complex." Elizabeth Graver, author of Unraveling and The Honey Thief

"Avoidance is at turns utterly compelling and utterly repellent, clearly by design. A frightening, but ultimately rewarding, ride." Jim Grimsley, author of Dream Boy

"Michael Lowenthal is simply a wonderful storyteller. He understands both the heart's need for community and the soul's need for seclusion—and the way evil can exist in either place." Chris Bohjalian, author of Buffalo Soldier and Trans-Sister Radio

The Same Embrace

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"Deeply felt...Lowenthal uses luminous language that often imbues ordinary gestures and events with deeper meaning. The Same Embrace is an eloquent exploration of the nature of faith, the consequences of judgment and the stubborn endurance of family ties." New York Times Book Review

"[Lowenthal's] prose is limned with rich metaphors, and his story is populated with characters both likable and complex...The Same Embrace deserves to welcomed with open arms." The Philadelphia Inquirer

"There's scarcely a page in this well-crafted first novel that doesn't bristle with brilliant writing and keen insight." The Advocate

"A luminous depiction of family life and of sexual identity...impressive in the complexity of its craft and its vision." San Francisco Bay Guardian

"In this story of closely observed family dynamics, Lowenthal accomplishes the neat trick of showing the humane intent of Jewish traditions and laws while exposing the rigidity and intolerance that characterize its fundamentalist practitioners...A satisfying new twist on contemporary gay fiction." Washington Post Book World

"Lowenthal has a keen eye for details...and his assured dialogue, smooth weaving of the narrative back and forth in time, and layering of cultural, sexual and religious themes coalesce into an impressively crafted, moving debut." Publishers Weekly

"Lowenthal's rendering of the hesitant attempts at communication in a family scarred by bitterness and regret are precise and deeply moving...a fresh and provocative first novel." Kirkus Reviews

"A beautiful, compelling, and important first novel that brings sensitive issues into mainstream fiction and opens doors that are usually kept shut. This haunting novel will stay with you for a long time." Cleveland Jewish News

"The Same Embrace is a compelling story of growth under duress, understanding earned with pain, and ultimately, the potential for healing. Lowenthal's characters will linger in your heart. His insight into truth, religion, trust, family, tolerance, and a young man's search for wholeness will linger in your mind." Concord Sunday Monitor (New Hampshire)

"In this pitch-perfect collection of sly, shapely stories, Michael Lowenthal turns his discerning eye on relationships up and down the Kinsey scale. What a tremendous gift to read such wise insights into the various ways people seduce, betray, surprise, and ultimately transform each other." Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men

"What a stunning book this is, throwing off sparks at every turn. Michael Lowenthal's characters tread as close as they dare to intimacy, then closer. I can't remember the last time I read a collection this good." Rachel Kadish, author of The Weight of Ink

"This book, just like seeking sex with strangers in real life, is sometimes risky, sometimes about loneliness, and continuously offers lessons about the roots and vagrancies of our own desire. Sex with Strangers always leaves an impression and reminds us of the eternal resurrection of hope in the human heart." Justin Torres, author of We the Animals

"In sharp and often surprising prose, Lowenthal writes compelling, memorable characters, both queer and straight, who desire some form of intimacy. They want to be understood or seen, and they want to know themselves." Carter Sickels, author of The Prettiest Star

"A beautifully told story that brings myriad social issues to the forefront, and also manages to be a literary page-turner." Jewish Daily Forward

"The Paternity Test is at once heartbreaking and groundbreaking. It's a brave, warts-and-all examination of a troubled gay couple ... who take dramatic measures in an effort to mend their fraying open relationship.... Paternity tests aren't taken for grades, but this one nonetheless deserves an A." Jim Gladstone, Passport Magazine

"A compelling, painstakingly honest portrait of a gay couple's logistical and emotional journey to become parents ... a quintessential page-turner." Edge.com

"... readers—both gay and straight—will come away from Lowenthal's novel with a deeper understanding not only of the ethical issues surrounding surrogacy, but also of the ever-evolving gay community." Publishers Weekly

"The beauty of The Paternity Test is Lowenthal's brilliant ability to make the sexuality of his two gay characters secondary. Instead, the focus here is much more universal: it's about a relationship between two people. Gender is not significant. What matters here is love. Sure, it's a complicated, messy, and somewhat dysfunctional love, but it reads and feels like the real thing." Lambda Literary Review

"Lowenthal manages to deal deftly with a huge range of topical issues: interfaith relationships, sibling rivalries, parental expectations, infidelity, the fluidity of desire, and the diversity of Jewish culture... . In Lowenthal's capable hands, The Paternity Test shows the novelist's enduring hallmarks: accessible prose, depth of emotion, and a keen sense of empathy for all of his characters—flaws and all. A compelling read for anyone who wants to know what family truly means today." Wayne Hoffman, Jewish Book World

"Thrilling, funny, sexy, and psychologically complex." Tim Miller for Bay Windows

"Breezy, entertaining, and above all, relevant.... The author has an uncanny eye for detail and the ability to shore up an entire relationship or the unobvious mood in a room with an economy of exacting, carefully chosen words.... Nice work from a talented New England-based author who just keeps getting better." Bay Area Reporter

"Lowenthal's snappy dialogue moves the story along and reveals complexities among the characters, and Pat's first-person narration provides insight into the many often-conflicting motivations behind parenthood.... The parallel story line about Stu's family and his sister's struggles with fertility and adoption offers a useful counterpoint to the main plot, where issues of family, identity, desire, and responsibility collide ... On the whole, Lowenthal handles these many strands with aplomb." Boston Globe

"You have to love a story that makes you a little scared to move on to the next chapter because you've come to care about the characters so much... Rich with angst and eagerness, laced with past-inflicted pain, and yet ... still hopeful.... One of those novels that will stick in your mind. If you miss The Paternity Test, in fact, you'll kick yourself." Long Island Pulse

"Groundbreaking ... With The Paternity Test, Lowenthal shows the same courage he has demonstrated throughout his career by delving into how our private desires collide with our public allegiances." The Rumpus

"Psychologically astute and realistic, the story readily engages the reader in the emotional ups and downs of the journey." Psychology Today

"Lowenthal's descriptions wrest the reader directly into his characters' struggles and delights. Even when his books grapple with questions of sexuality and power, there's nothing didactic or abstract in them. We experience Lowenthal's fictional worlds right alongside his characters—and those worlds are quirky and terrifying and sensuous and redeeming, and absolutely recognizable." Ploughshares blog

"Lowenthal offers a solid read on how relationships hold up or wither away under great stress and what it means to be a family. Sure to appeal to both heterosexual and gay/lesbian readers." Library Journal

"A page-turner thanks to its realistic characters and a situation that might hit close to home for some." The Advocate

"Credit Lowenthal with taking what could have been a safe, sweet story and turning it into something knotted and barbed.... Lowenthal is aiming for something truer to life." Washington Post

"A searing psychological drama." Concord Monitor

"[Lowenthal] convincingly conveys the emotions of a group of people who are trying to start a family and the frustration that comes when it doesn't happen on schedule. Never in a hurry, The Paternity Test starts out at a slow and gentle trot, but works up to brisk pace and, in time, to a can't-look-away ending that will leave readers feeling both shaken and pensive." Gay and Lesbian Review

"A deeply felt account of why having a child is not a sustainable way to make a marriage last. Lowenthal takes a melancholic tone from the very beginning and beautifully carries it through the entire novel in both scene and story." The Good Men Project

"A rich and complex story." Boston Spirit Magazine

"Powerful stuff, starting with an intelligent look at the trials of a long-term relationship and ending with a devastating final chapter that I, for one, didn't see coming at all." Ed Sikov, LitReactor.com

"It's one thing for a fiction writer to take on large and knotty subjects like pedophilia, surrogacy, and the intersection of Judaism and sexual identity. It is quite another to tell these stories with the sort of nuanced and fully fleshed-out characters that make Michael Lowenthal and his work both important and eminently readable." Isthmus

"Just when you think the story is turning one way, [Lowenthal] will throw you a curve ball that changes the direction of the story. He does this several times so that you will feel emotionally invested in these characters, and the last quarter of the book, particularly, is such a page-turner. It is one of those books where you dread turning the page because you care so much about the characters and you become petrified to see the consequences of their actions." Chick Lit Central

"A searingly honest portrait of love under fire, a fearless exploration of what it means to be an adult, a couple, a family. It is a story for our time." Jennifer Haigh, author of Faith and Mrs. Kimble

"So many different relationships are put to the test in Michael Lowenthal's thought-provoking novel—not only the bond at the heart of the book between two gay men and the Brazilian woman acting as their surrogate mother, but also the bond between husbands and wives, between siblings, between aging parents and their adult children. The Paternity Test is a complex, emotionally satisfying, and thoroughly engaging story." Tom Perrotta, author of The Leftovers and Little Children

"Michael Lowenthal's new novel deftly and wisely explores the various ways families are formed, altered, and destroyed by charting the vagaries and exigencies of two marriages. I loved the complicated, compelling characters who all come vividly alive in the beautifully evoked Cape Cod setting. The Paternity Test is a riveting and wonderful book." Peter Cameron, author of Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You

"The Paternity Test is a good, old-fashioned page-turner and a sophisticated look at the mysteries of long-term love and the convoluted reasons for wanting a child. Michael Lowenthal writes with intelligence and passion and made me care a great deal about the fates of his flawed, fascinating characters." Stephen McCauley, author of Insignificant Others and The Object of My Affection

"The Paternity Test is an exuberant book—a feat, considering how thoroughly Michael Lowenthal ransacks the human condition for its enduring weaknesses and inevitable disappointments. Yet he manages this with such warmth and wit, bringing to his disparate, often clashing band of characters so much compassionate intelligence, that in the end we can't help rooting for each one to find happiness—even as we come away with a clearer perception of how rightly varied their different versions of happiness may be." Leah Hager Cohen, author of The Grief of Others

"Lively and illuminating ... [Lowenthal] has accomplished the difficult feat of marrying the facts of history with the details that make a fictional life come alive. That few readers of Lowenthal's deserving novel will ever have heard of the detention of the 'charity girls' is astonishing. That Lowenthal has made us aware of them is nothing short of a gift." Anita Shreve for Washington Post

"Lowenthal's narrative style is perfect for a heroine who suffers but remains a survivor, striking just the right mix of dark and light, worldly and innocent... A convincing portrait of a long-lost world." New York Times Book Review

"Expect to be drawn into this absorbing page-turner." USA Today

"Engaging historical page-turner ... Lowenthal grasps the brash, unlettered, raucous and messy spirit of the times vividly. It's a measure of the author's success that you keep hoping for a fairy-tale ending even when every clue hints that nothing similar is remotely possible." San Francisco Chronicle

"Charity Girl tells a deeply disturbing story with compassion and sly cleverness." Boston Globe

"Harrowing, yet inspiring, this historical novel explores a shameful secret. ... Rich in period detail, swift-paced prose, and deserved political outrage." Kirkus (Starred Review)

"[Lowenthal] uses the historical footnote as a backdrop for a lively, emotion-laden novel of an irrepressible young woman's punishment for rebelling against upbringing and society, and how imprisonment and calamity brings out hidden strengths." Philadelphia Inquirer

"Captivating ... memorable ... Lowenthal writes in a tempo that keeps this a spirited and exciting story. Recommended for all public libraries." Library Journal

"Lowenthal ably captures the transformation of a naive adolescent into a woman in his provocative story." Publishers Weekly

"A harrowing story." New York Daily News

"Well-told, finely detailed ... manages to both illuminate and entertain. It's a real find." The Buffalo News

"Through the hardships of a fictional girl at a detention camp, Lowenthal skillfully lends voice to these women, while raising issues that feel relevant and immediate today." Boston Magazine

"One of the pleasures of reading historical fiction is discovering forgotten or little-known figures or campaigns of the past. In Charity Girl, Michael Lowenthal has unearthed a doozy and brings it ringingly to life with a contemporary resonance." Hartford Courant

"Charity Girl establishes [Michael Lowenthal] as one of the country's finest authors ... A resplendent, unforgettable novel." Bookslut

"The author uses spiraling tension and haunting imagery as he traces Frieda's journey from awkward adolescent into full-fledged womanhood ... Lowenthal fans will snap this one up." BookPage

"Sensitive ... A haunting reminder of the perils of punishment." Out Magazine

"Engaging ... vividly rendered." The L Magazine

"Even while capturing the great sweep of the period, Charity Girl celebrates most the depth of the characters' lives and the immediate energy of Boston circa World War I. Never opting for simplistic political parallels, Michael Lowenthal evokes empathy in unpredictable and touching ways through his crisp, charming prose. Highly accomplished, Charity Girl is a gift to all readers of quality historical and literary fiction." Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow

"This is a deeply affecting and important novel. With Charity Girl, Michael Lowenthal at a stroke establishes himself as a significant voice in American fiction. All good historical novels mirror the past in ways that interpret the present, and this novel does just that. It's a vivid story about a shameful chapter in U.S. history, and one that has obvious implication for the current political crisis. I was thoroughly engaged by Frieda Mintz, and her life and predicament will stay with me for years to come." Jay Parini, author of The Last Station and The Apprentice Lover

"The best novel that has come or is likely to come out of the Catholic sexual child-abuse scandal appeared late last year, and it happens to be a work by a Jew in which no Catholic appears. Michael Lowenthal's only contact with the Roman Catholic Church, so far as I know, is that he teaches creative writing at a Catholic university, Boston College. Not to be coy, Avoidance is neither a novel with a Catholic setting nor a roman à clef nor some kind of allegory. The setting is a boys summer camp, and religion is never mentioned in the story. Yet Lowenthal recreates with exceptional honesty and sympathy a poignant human drama of which during the past year the Catholic Church has offered more than its share of examples...

"Reading Lowenthal can be like sparring with a partner who dances around and never stops joking but every so often pops you one right in the kisser...

"[He] makes me think of the novelist Michael Cunningham—not the Cunningham of The Hours but the younger Cunningham of A Home at the End of the World. This is only Lowenthal's second novel, but he has the talent to go as far as Cunningham has gone. He has the same eye and ear for the interiority of "families," whatever shape they take. He has the same uncanny ability to fuse a place and a cast of characters in his reader's mind. He has the same lyricism on tap. And he has, in addition, the abovementioned left jab." Jack Miles, Commonweal Magazine

"...disturbing, elegant and powerful...[Lowenthal] has thrown down one hell of a gauntlet...[his] particular talent as a novelist is exploring gray areas with wisdom and confidence. Disarmingly but beautifully, he's explored the blurry line between selfless love and selfish lust." Mark Athitakis, Washington Post

"Fine writers, at least according to one school of thought, should be disturbers of the peace of mind. They should set sail, that is, to our most turbulent cultural waters and challenge, rather than affirm, our most comfortable pieties. Judging by his second novel, it's easy to suspect that Michael Lowenthal wholeheartedly embraces this philosophy." Andrew Furman, The Miami Herald

"...Michael Lowenthal deserves a medal for courage...[Avoidance] gleams with sensitivity and insight...his metaphor-rich prose grounds the fiction in a vivid landscape of particulars. Themes never override the centrality of this writer's sure-handed storytelling. It's easy to understand the victim of sexual abuse. Lowenthal achieves the much more difficult task of making fully human the potential abuser." Dan Cryer, NewsDay

"...a nod to classic 'homosexual novels' of forbidden love...Michael Lowenthal is shaking off the confines of contemporary gay fiction...Avoidance [is] the sort of literary fiction popular during a time when gay love was written mostly between the lines." Robert Pela, The Advocate

"Lowenthal...crafts a tale at times so disturbing you want to shield your eyes. But his storytelling makes it impossible to look away." Jane H. Ungaschick, Boston Magazine

"...fearless and expertly crafted..." Vanity Fair

"...[A] beautiful and gripping novel that explores the boundaries of desire and its numerous consequences...Avoidance's subtly explored themes of community and exclusion reach a heartbreaking conclusion." Michael Taeckens, Out Magazine

"This finely etched second novel by Lowenthal (The Same Embrace) tells the story of Jeremy Stull, a Harvard graduate student who has lived with the Amish and spends most of his time researching the lives of those excommunicated from Amish communities. During the summer, he is also the assistant director of Camp Ironwood, a haven in the Vermont woods for troubled boys. As he probes the personal lives of these two groups, Jeremy struggles with his own latent homosexuality. Nearly celibate, Jeremy has put off confronting sexual desires that make him uncomfortable, but this comes to an end with the arrival at Ironwood of Max Conner, a charismatic 14-year-old with a tragic family history. In taming the insubordinate Max, Jeremy is reminded of his own childhood, the death of his father and his history at the camp. He also sees some of his own quandaries reflected in the life of Beulah Glick, a lonely Amish woman who decided to leave the fold rather than shun her excommunicated husband. Lowenthal deftly weaves together scenes of Amish and camp life; juxtaposing these two tightly knit communities, he explores the appeal of highly structured, restrictive collectives as well as questions of temptation and self-mastery, faith and belonging. Lowenthal has a fine ear for the vernaculars of urban campers, Harvard academics and the cloistered, bilingual Amish, and he handles the potentially explosive subject of Jeremy's unrequited attraction to Max with subtlety and sensitivity. These different elements form a rich, complex narrative that is as inspiring as it is thought provoking." Publisher's Weekly (Starred)

"Disturbed and displaced by the death of his father as a little boy, Jeremy finds his roots and, indeed, his avocation at Camp Ironwood, where he began as a camper and rose to assistant camp director. In the winter months, as a graduate student, Jeremy studies the Amish people, with particular emphasis on their practice of shunning. Social avoidance and marking those who differ from what is learned may be formalized in the Amish community, but it is very similar to socialization at a boy's camp and to the larger community's reaction to homosexuality. By interweaving and comparing those three types of social avoidance, as well as studying what it means to protect kinship and fellowship, Lowenthal (The Same Embrace) shows what it means to be a fallible human. At times haunting and disturbing, his second novel teaches a quiet lesson: one person can, in fact, rein in individual desires and create a community that is stronger than the sum of its parts and thereby find personal redemption. With beautiful characterizations of the boys at Ironwood and a lyrical rendering of a man's conflicting spiritual pulls, Avoidance is not to be missed. Highly recommended." Library Journal (Starred)

"Avoidance walks a precarious tightrope between desire and responsibility, love and passion. Lowenthal's vividly imagined characters are infinitely capable of surprising us, as is his deft plot. This is a novel which asks us to both think and feel and rewards us for both." Margot Livesey, author of Eva Moves the Furniture and The Boy in the Field

"Lowenthal explores the slippery shapes of desire and traces the thin line between thought and deed. A splendid novel, as gripping as it is moving and complex." Elizabeth Graver, author of Unraveling and The Honey Thief

"Avoidance is at turns utterly compelling and utterly repellent, clearly by design. A frightening, but ultimately rewarding, ride." Jim Grimsley, author of Dream Boy

"Michael Lowenthal is simply a wonderful storyteller. He understands both the heart's need for community and the soul's need for seclusion—and the way evil can exist in either place." Chris Bohjalian, author of Buffalo Soldier and Trans-Sister Radio

"Deeply felt...Lowenthal uses luminous language that often imbues ordinary gestures and events with deeper meaning. The Same Embrace is an eloquent exploration of the nature of faith, the consequences of judgment and the stubborn endurance of family ties." New York Times Book Review

"[Lowenthal's] prose is limned with rich metaphors, and his story is populated with characters both likable and complex...The Same Embrace deserves to welcomed with open arms." The Philadelphia Inquirer

"There's scarcely a page in this well-crafted first novel that doesn't bristle with brilliant writing and keen insight." The Advocate

"A luminous depiction of family life and of sexual identity...impressive in the complexity of its craft and its vision." San Francisco Bay Guardian

"In this story of closely observed family dynamics, Lowenthal accomplishes the neat trick of showing the humane intent of Jewish traditions and laws while exposing the rigidity and intolerance that characterize its fundamentalist practitioners...A satisfying new twist on contemporary gay fiction." Washington Post Book World

"Lowenthal has a keen eye for details...and his assured dialogue, smooth weaving of the narrative back and forth in time, and layering of cultural, sexual and religious themes coalesce into an impressively crafted, moving debut." Publishers Weekly

"Lowenthal's rendering of the hesitant attempts at communication in a family scarred by bitterness and regret are precise and deeply moving...a fresh and provocative first novel." Kirkus Reviews

"A beautiful, compelling, and important first novel that brings sensitive issues into mainstream fiction and opens doors that are usually kept shut. This haunting novel will stay with you for a long time." Cleveland Jewish News

"The Same Embrace is a compelling story of growth under duress, understanding earned with pain, and ultimately, the potential for healing. Lowenthal's characters will linger in your heart. His insight into truth, religion, trust, family, tolerance, and a young man's search for wholeness will linger in your mind." Concord Sunday Monitor (New Hampshire)