Narrated by Matthew Spaur

American Wasteland: Stories by Alexander Shalom Joseph

Alexander Shalom Joseph’s American Wasteland is a collection of stories about the contemporary day-to-day in America. It is said in the Talmud that one job of certain Jews is to justify the existence of humanity to God; in this collection, Joseph attempts to do just this with his stories, which speak to the everyday mundane and the vast richness in both meaning and meaninglessness that abound all around us.

In one story a recent divorcee tries to find meaning on the Fourth of July but ends up stuck in traffic. In another a suburban man unhappy with his life becomes obsessed with washing his car at a twenty four hour car wash in his neighborhood. In another young woman recollects her childhood with a single mother and how they used to paint their nails and eat breakfast together. In yet another a single person suffers through a dinner party at which they are the fifth wheel.

These stories, vivid in detail, portray a stagnant land full of longing. They present a portrait of a country full of millions of lost people, trying to make sense of a world which can seem both crushing and light at the same time.

Sample of audio book