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Appel bares all in "Phoning Home: Essays"

By Suzanne Axland,

University of South Carolina Press


In May the University of South Carolina Press published Phoning Home: Essays by Jacob M. Appel, but our stock sold out before we had the chance to send out review copies. Now that the second printing is in the warehouse, we would like to tell you about this great book!

Phoning Home is a collection of entertaining and thought-provoking essays featuring the author's quirky family, his Jewish heritage and his New York City upbringing. Appel's recollections and insights, informed and filtered by his advanced degrees in medicine, law and ethics, not only inspire nostalgic feelings but also offer insight into contemporary medical and ethical issues.

At times sardonic and at others self-deprecating, Appel lays bare the most private aspects of his emotional life. Both erudite and full-hearted, Appel recounts storylines ranging from a bout of unrequited love gone awry to the poignant romance of his grandparents. We learn of the crank phone calls he made to his own family, the conspicious absence of Jell-O at his grandaunt's house and family secrets long believed buried. The stories capture the author's distinctive voice — a blend of a physician's compassion and an ethicist's constant questioning.


Jacob M. Appel is a physician, attorney and bioethicist based in New York City. He is the author of the noval The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up, the short fiction collection Scouting for the Reaper, and more than 200 published stories. He also writes about the nexus of law and medicine, contributing t o many leading publications including the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune and Detroit Free Press.

Appel's non-fiction story "Two Cats, Fat and Thin," was featured as the contest winner in the 2008 edition of The Briar Cliff Review.

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