Jonathan Blum is the author of two books of fiction: Last Word (Rescue Press, 2013), a novella, and The Usual Uncertainties (Rescue Press, 2019), a forthcoming story collection. Blum grew up in Miami and graduated from UCLA and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His short stories have appeared in Angels Flight • literary west, The Carolina Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, Playboy, Sonora Review, and in Shanxi Literature, among others. He has taught fiction writing at The University of Iowa, Drew University, and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and is the recipient of a Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award, a Hawthornden fellowship in Scotland, and a grant from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. He has also been a guest writer at the Tianjin Binhai New Area International Writing Program in China. He lives in Los Angeles.
The Usual Uncertainties—Jonathan Blum's highly anticipated first collection—is storytelling at its finest. In precise, elegant prose, these stories follow characters and communities often consigned to the edge of the frame: a community college dropout, a geriatric care manager, a square dance bar mitzvah, a Scrabble club, an entrepreneurial Thai immigrant, and a South Florida country club. With echoes of Leonard Michaels, Mavis Gallant, and Lore Segal, Blum explores the ways our divergent histories tether us together and at times push us completely apart. The Usual Uncertainties revels in the persistent human struggle to love with abandon and marks a radiant voice in American short fiction.
Last Word, a novella, tells the story of Kip Langer, a successful orthognathic surgeon, who is trying to raise three children, including Eric, a bright but socially awkward thirteen-year-old from his first marriage. As Eric gets into more and more trouble at his Conservative Jewish Day School, Kip tries to understand Eric and guide him toward making better choices. The story, set in a Southern suburban community, examines patterns of love, anger, intimacy, inheritance, and disconnection within one modern blended family.