Lolita at Leonard’s of Great Neck and Other Stories from the Before Times


Rich with authentic detail and insight, these compelling stories sweep the reader along on an intimate, uniquely Jewish journey from 1974 through the first decade of the new millennium as the characters wrestle with identity, independence, ambition, sexuality, faith, and love.

The five compelling tales comprising Lolita at Leonards of Great Neck and Other Stories from the Before Times will take you on an immersive journey from 1974 to the 2000s. Eighteen-year-old Anna, a Jewish college student, meets a German businessman at a Greek diner on Queens Boulevard. Claire Seltzer of Great Neck has the honeymoon from hell in Paris. Rebecca, a spunky eighth grader, is in love with Mr. Miller, her math teacher. Sarah Reinhardt, the wife of a celebrity doctor living in Central Park West, finds herself in a complicated love triangle. Rachel Rosensweig awakens one morning to find that her husband of thirty years, a Columbia professor, has become a dangerous radical.

The characters of this unforgettable collection inhabit the golden era of the postwar, pre-pandemic world. Age-old power struggles—between lovers, between friends, between parents and children—are illuminated and analyzed. Heartbreaking and sometimes hilarious, their stories disclose and document what it meant to be American, Jewish, and female. Rich with cultural touchstones and reference points, they are suffused with self-awareness, longing, and sensual awareness.

Will Anna accept the invitation of the German businessman? Can Claire’s honeymoon be saved? Will Rebecca’s love for Mr. Miller remain secret? How will Sarah fix the mess she has made? And how will Rachel protect herself from the threat that has suddenly become very personal?

You are invited to fall in love with these characters and their long-gone world.