The Black Hole Pastrami


Fiction - Anthology
106 Pages
Reviewed on 08/22/2023
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite

Jeffrey M. Feingold’s The Black Hole Pastrami is a colorful, humorous, wise, and often deeply moving collection of short stories about growing up in Boston’s Ukrainian-Jewish community and navigating the challenging terrain of adulthood in the shadow of high expectations, inevitable loss, and an ever-present yearning for bygone days and family ways. Whether he is writing about a son’s response to his father’s impending death (The Black Hole Pastrami), a doomed family car (The LTD), magnetic attraction unfulfilled (Goth Girl), the unexpected motivation behind a beloved aunt’s quirky behavior (The Sugar Thief), or any of the other dozen scenarios in this masterful collection, Feingold’s style is witty, conversational, and highly engaging, with an autobiographical vibe - the result being that the reader feels like a participant in the narrative. In the end, Feingold’s people become family and his vignettes take on the luster of treasured lore.

The Black Hole Pastrami by Jeffrey Feingold is a short story lover’s dream come true – truly, the work of a gifted storyteller in his prime. With delightful surprises at every turn, characters that readers will relate to and long remember, feisty dialogue bursting with heartwarming authenticity, a magical sense of the epic infused into day-to-day events, and a cultural color palette guaranteed to maintain reader interest, Feingold has woven a rich tapestry from threads of a vibrant and, sadly, vanishing community – his characters and stories are timeless and indelible. The Black Hole Pastrami is a literary feast served in small, sweet bites, ideal for an escape from the mundane cares of the world.

Bryone Peters

The Black Hole Pastrami: Stories by Jeffrey M. Feingold is a collection of bittersweet, funny, and sometimes tragic stories. Feingold beautifully describes the essence of human behavior. The stories are relevant to all as they capture the emotional tribulations that break and make individuals. An example is the pain of losing an item of no monetary value. Another example is a person we adored with whom we once spent precious time, like Feingold's Aunt Millie, as expressed in the story “The Sugar Thief” and the silver plate in “The World of Tomorrow.” Feingold is charming and hilarious in his ability to describe his childhood escapades, even if extremely dangerous in hindsight, especially in a world where safety was not a concern.

The Black Hole Pastrami: Stories by Jeffrey M. Feingold feels as if a close friend has opened up and told me his best and worse memories. It’s the kind of story that would make a room full of listeners cry. In the story “Here’s Looking at You Syd,” an American couple goes to Russia and tries to adopt a Russian baby. The narrative was amazing and a must-read. Later, Feingold poignantly expresses his pain and regret for some close relatives, such as his naïve attitude toward his favorite aunt. He regrets feeling embarrassed because of her habit of stealing sugar from restaurant tables. It adds beautiful sentiments, tragically sad ones about treacherous and unforgiving, most notably the unseen scars the war left on many people.

Pikasho Deka

The Black Hole Pastrami by Jeffrey M. Feingold is a short story collection inspired by the author's life experiences. A man's quest to fulfill his dying father's wish to eat a black pastrami sandwich leaves him looking back at his mistakes and disappointments in "The Black Hole Pastrami." "Nowhere Man" follows a salesman who finds a motel in the middle of nowhere and finds himself on a trip down memory lane. "Goth Girl" is the story of a young man who falls head over heels for a pixie dream girl poet. Playing war games turns all too real for a young boy when he crashes his father's prized possession in "The Buzz Bomb." "I Walk the Line" follows a young boy as he learns to navigate two different schools of thought.

The Black Hole Pastrami is a riveting short story collection that delves into themes of loss, regret, forgiveness, growing up, familial relations, heritage, and much more. Author Jeffrey M. Feingold delivers a moving collection of sixteen short stories with a rich and binding thematic narrative. These stories have an emotional resonance, all the more prominently brought out by Feingold's personable writing style and the use of first-person narrative. Each tale feels unique and brings something of its own to the collection. Many touch upon the rich cultural heritage of the Ukrainian Jewish diaspora in America. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and can't recommend it highly enough to short story lovers.

Essien Asian

A moving tale of a son whose dying father's culinary preferences stayed with him long after the older man's demise sets off an intriguing collection of memories encompassing his Jewish childhood, relatives, and incidents that lingered as he matured. Join Jeffrey M. Feingold as he recaptures the details of a unique child-hunting expedition to the land of the Tsars, the difficulties of settling on a pet for one's daughter, and the unusual story of an even more unusual romantic encounter that makes up just a small part of this collection of curious short stories which is aptly titled The Black Hole Pastrami.

Jeffrey M. Feingold's collection of short stories is as interesting as they are nostalgic. His take on memories spanning his principal character's childhood and early marriage is quite detailed. He uses language bordering on poetry to recreate events as vividly as if they happened yesterday. The combination of childlike innocence with wry humor common with adults going through a rough spot is so moving that you immediately feel part of his story. Be it navigating the mind-numbing bureaucracy of the Russian adoption process or the appreciation of the exquisite culinary talents of his Jewish family, Feingold's one-of-a-kind storytelling technique shines like a lighthouse at night. Despite his commendable attempts at lifting the spirits, the lingering feeling of accepting the inevitability of the impending end still rings through in his work. The Black Hole Pastrami is a work of literary genius.

Paul Zietsman

The Black Hole Pastrami by Jeffrey M. Feingold is a collection of short stories told from the first-person perspective. It features stories of longing, of beloved pets, of love, and of humor. The opening story, from which the title of the book borrows its name, tells of the author's father, who is dying, and as a means to lighten the burden, the author gets him a juicy black pastrami sandwich. Other stories tell of adopting a baby boy from Russia, the love that the family has for their dogs, and stories of growing up in Boston and the shenanigans young boys get up to. My favorite story, Goth Girl, tells of Jeffrey's infatuation with a poet who writes dark and twisted poetry, who wears only black clothing, and who considers him too much of a nice guy to be paired up with her.

The writing in The Black Hole Pastrami is very good in the sense that characters and scenery are well portrayed, to the point that it created clear imagery in my mind. Jeffrey M. Feingold's quirky style of writing, along with the fitting endings to the stories, where often a clever observation is made to conclude a tale, adds the element of surprise. The characters are authentic and therefore relatable. The stories of love and laughter, of life and death, and the wondrous moments in between made me reminisce about my own life story and evoked a sense of nostalgia. The Black Hole Pastrami makes for light reading and portrays scenes and personalities that are both memorable and endearing.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

The Black Hole Pastrami is a set of sixteen short stories by Jeffrey M. Feingold. The author seems to share tales of his life in the guise of fiction with themes of grief, nostalgia, family, and loss while realistically chronicling his tales and touching on disappearing religious customs. Several stories reminiscence about times before car seats and video games. Many tales are noticeably linked as the characters' names remain the same. In the work, the author even claims a poem in his name.

Jeffrey M. Feingold’s beautiful words transport the reader to a moment in time and slip out seamlessly into the next story. There’s something about the ease of narration that keeps readers invested as they move through the linked stories. The author’s words evoke vibrant visuals, and readers may wonder if Feingold’s personal experiences sparked the events as the details are so clear they almost read like a memoir. He embraces other dialects in a way that attunes the reader to their natural pronunciation and makes several references to Itzhak Perlman and Bruce Willis. Readers who prefer short stories to full-length novels will still develop a strong relation to Feingold’s main character and his plights and enjoy the connected tales, claiming a favorite story based on their personal preference or current situation in life. The Black Hole Pastrami is a great selection for readers who enjoy easily digestible stories written with a flowing hand.

Grant Leishman

The Black Hole Pastrami by Jeffrey M. Feingold is a collection of sixteen short stories that run the entire gamut of one’s life, that of Mr. Jeffrey M. Feingold, one suspects. The stories are all narrated from the first-person perspective, which gives the reader closeness to the experiences that otherwise might be missing. In “Avalanche,” we meet the family dogs and follow their debut on national television, and in “Here’s Looking at You, Sid,” we follow a couple seeking to adopt a Russian orphan child as the narrator recounts the many strange, funny, and unique challenges that the Russian bureaucracy placed in front of prospective adoptive parents, especially those from the United States. The author highlights and examines the unusual and odd in family dynamics, especially the adult world, as a young boy perceives. The Ukrainian-Jewish experience faced by immigrants as they walk the tightrope of trying to adapt to their new country and yet still retain their heritage and customs is a recurring theme of the stories, as is the cameo appearances in a number of the stories by actor Bruce Willis.

The Black Hole Pastrami caught my attention, and I’m glad it did. Author Jeffrey M. Feingold has crafted an eclectic mix of stories that capture the heart, tickle the funny bone, and beautifully describe the angst and confusion of a young man as he moves into adulthood, trying to understand and adapt to the world of adults. All the stories elicited an emotional response from me in one way or another, which is a great tribute to the author. Still, in any collection, some stand out more than others and can rightly be called my favorites. I particularly enjoyed the tale “Nowhere Man,” which touched on reminiscences of family life and religious traditions that can so easily be lost in the immigrants’ desires to fit into the society of their new home. I also enjoyed “To Infinity and Beyond,” which captured a young boy’s confusion about life and religion. It was a truly insightful piece that had me chuckling at the narrator’s naiveté and infallible logic. This lovely, short collection can be read in one enjoyable sitting, and I highly recommend it.

Alma Boucher

The Black Hole Pastrami: Stories by Jeffrey M. Feingold is a collection consisting of sixteen stories and opens with the piece that provides the title. A man went to a deli to buy a black pastrami sandwich for his dying father. This leads him to reflect on his own life as he contemplates the hopes and disappointments he took on from his father. Through the sandwich, the man reconnects with his family and his Jewish-Ukrainian roots. This is one of several similar accounts. Here’s Looking at You, Syd is one of the longer tales and is about a couple who wants to adopt a child in Moscow but runs into trouble with the Russian Government. The Sugar Thief is the final story about an aunt who steals sugar packets from the café and this rounds off the collection.

The Black Hole Pastrami by Jeffrey M. Feingold is a charming compilation of short stories and has a kind and caring approach concerning the characters and their circumstances. The storytellers look back on their memories and evaluate both the past and present. The narrative has the feel of an autobiography. The humor softens the harshness of mortality, and at times I found myself laughing out loud. Themes of childhood, illness, death, and guilt are woven into the storylines. I was intrigued from the start. It was a page-turner, and I could not put it down. The characters were authentic and relatable. The stories are brilliantly written and were much more than I expected.

Diana Lopez

The Black Hole Pastrami is a collection of short stories that address a variety of subjects, such as nostalgia, love, and family. Each story has a unique touch and a plot different from the previous one. However, you can feel a connection between them. Jeffrey M. Feingold describes everything from situations as simple as going to the butcher shop to the touching adoption of a baby in Russia. Despite the diversity of content, the factor of human relationships is present throughout. Thanks to this, we can navigate between emotions such as humor, nostalgia, irony, and other feelings. The Black Hole Pastrami is the ideal book to relax with and appreciate the experiences of life, whether happy, sad, or daily.

The Black Hole Pastrami is the title of the book and the first story. This story is emotional because it is about a man who, while at the butcher shop, has the opportunity to think about his dying father and his family. But he also analyzes himself regarding the emotions he represses and wishes to express. It is a short and profound story. So, from the beginning, we know that it will be an intriguing read with unexpected factors. Another story I liked was about a visit to the dentist because it is funny with a touch of irony. Overall, The Black Hole Pastrami has content dedicated to family interactions, including pets. In addition, some moments deal with overcoming grief or fighting for opportunities. I liked Jeffrey M. Feingold's writing so much because of these lessons.

Jennie More

The Black Hole Pastrami - Stories by Jeffrey M. Feingold is a collection of funny, quirky, reminiscent short stories that unpacks the journey of life, including playful childhood antics, marriage, childrearing, furry family members, divorce, heritage, religion, traditions, and everything else that makes family life meaningful and whole. Some short stories that stood out include The Buzz Bomb, Goth Girl, and The LTD, all humorous stories of a boy including the neighborhood war with his elementary friends, a crush on a mysterious goth girl and a poem that never aired, and the unexpected forgiveness of a father who lost his favorite car. Others are The World of Tomorrow, about the value of cherishing memories and passing them on to our children, and The Sugar Thief, about the eccentricities of loved ones and the importance of our tolerance and love for them.

The Black Hole Pastrami - Stories by Jeffrey M. Feingold is a fascinating, heartwarming, humorous, and beautifully written collection of short stories. Feingold entertains the reader throughout. I enjoyed the continuity of the short stories as most were about the same character looking back and remembering his beautiful childhood and the several mentions of the black pastrami sandwich and its link to the Ukrainian heritage. The tone was witty and delightful. Reading a collection of short stories about a magical and joyful childhood was also unexpected, as I have seldom read of such pure childhood bliss. Most importantly, these stories were excellently written, as the characters and the story come alive. Feingold is intentional with his writing, as every sentence adds meaning and value.