To Be a Man To Be a Man

“From a contemporary master” Esquire and “one of America’s great writers” Financial Times comes a “superb new collection” New York Times that is “a sustained shot of brilliance” Boston Globe

To Be a Man


A dazzling collection of short fiction in which “one of America’s most important novelists and an international literary sensation” (New York Times)  explores what it means to be in a couple in these turbulent and unpredictable times.

In one of her most accomplished books yet, Nicole Krauss plunges fearlessly into the struggle to understand what it is to be a man and what it is to be a woman, and the arising tensions that have existed in all relationships from the very beginning of time. Set in our contemporary moment, and moving across the globe from Switzerland, Japan, and New York City to Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, and South America, the stories in To Be a Man feature male characters as fathers, lovers, friends, children, seducers, and even a lost husband who may never have been a husband at all.

The way these stories mirror one other and resonate is beautiful, with a balance so finely tuned that the book almost feels like a novel. Echoes ring through stages of life: aging parents and new-born babies; young women’s coming of age and the newfound, somewhat bewildering sexual power that accompanies it; generational gaps and unexpected deliveries of strange new leases on life; mystery and wonder at a life lived or a future waiting to unfold. To Be a Man illuminates with a fierce, unwavering light the forces driving human existence: sex, power, violence, passion, self-discovery, growing older. Profound, poignant, and brilliant, Krauss’s stories are at once startling and deeply moving, but always revealing of all-too-human weakness and strength.

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From a contemporary master, an astounding collection of ten globetrotting stories, each one a powerful dissection of the thorny connections between men and women…Each story is masterfully crafted and deeply contemplative, barreling toward a shimmering, inevitable conclusion, proving once again that Krauss is one of our most formidable talents in fiction.


This collection of stories from Krauss is a wonder, with the author’s signature straddling of the tragic and the absurd, her particularly Jewish frame of reference, and the extraordinary range of her narrative voice…A tremendous collection from an immensely talented writer.


Deeply satisfying…Each tale bends the formal possibilities of the short story in a pleasurably elastic way. Krauss’ ability to tackle novel-worthy subjects at compact length is particularly bracing.


In To Be a Man, Krauss’s short fic­tion proves as ele­gant­ly craft­ed as her nov­els, brim­ming with pen­e­trat­ing under­stand­ing of the com­plex dynam­ics of mod­ern fam­i­lies, and char­ac­ters whose strug­gles with dif­fi­cult truths ulti­mate­ly chal­lenge and enrich the reader’s own world.