Gordon Haber

Writer, editor, mediocre guitarist

Literary Selfie: Fall 2016 (aka The World Is Collapsing But Everybody Pay Attention to Me)

He's in better shape than I am

He’s in better shape than I am


This is a difficult time, and I am sure that many of you are asking, Yes, but what about Gordon’s writing? Here are links to all the interesting stuff I’ve written about this fall:

Also I published a free (or very inexpensive) e-book about taking action in the age of Trump here.

And finally some good news: Audible is producing an audiobook of my latest short story, His Grandmother’s Memory.

Wishing everyone a peaceful holiday season. God help us all, everyone.

Trump is a Fascist. Here’s Why.

Remind you of someone?

Remind you of someone?


Trump is not Hitler. He is Mussolini, with the one exception being that Il Duce wrote his own books.

I’m sure people have noticed this before. But after that last night’s horrifying debate I went back to look at Robert O. Paxton’s 2004 book, The Anatomy of Fascism. 

Paxton acknowledges that fascism is tough to define. This difficulty, he says, arises from fascism being driven less by ideology than by what he calls “mobilizing passions”:

  • a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions;
  • the primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether individual or universal, and the subordination of the individual to it;
  • the belief that one’s group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against its enemies, both internal and external;
  • dread of the group’s decline under the corrosive effects of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences;
  • the need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary;
  • the need for authority by natural chiefs (always male), culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group’s historical destiny;
  • the superiority of the leader’s instincts over abstract and universal reason;
  • the beauty of violence and the efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the group’s success;
  • the right of the chosen people to dominate others without restraint from any kind of human or divine law, right being decided by the sole criterion of the group’s prowess within a Darwinian struggle.

So let’s call it what it is: a race between a deeply flawed but experienced candidate and a fascist.

Literary Selfie: Summer 2016


Yes I know this is not a selfie. Nor was it taken this summer. Get off my back, okay?


  • My new short story, His Grandmother’s Memory, is available here as an Amazon Kindle single.
  • I read from my short story Publish and Perish for C-Span.
  • I had a piece about the prosperity gospel in Religion & Politics.
  • I had a piece about the key to understanding Bernie Sanders (hint, he’s an aging Jewish man) in The Forward.
  • I had an infographic on Donald Trump and religion in Religion Dispatches.

His Grandmother Had Nothing to Leave Him. Except Her Memory.

Click to purchase!Click to purchase!

My new short story, His Grandmother’s Memory, is now available as an Amazon Kindle single. Here’s a teaser:

“Listen to this,” the rabbi said.“‘Ibbur is the most positive form of possession, when a righteous soul decides to occupy a living person’s body for a time. The departed soul wishes to complete an important task that can only be accomplished in the flesh.’”
“Is that Kabbalah?”
The rabbi held up an iPad. “Wikipedia.”

Enliven your commute or bathroom time for less than a buck! Available here. To get a free app that allows you to read Kindle e-books on any platform, click here.

After Long, Cold Winter, Let Us Emerge Together into Spring

This is not me, this is a squirrel. Photo credit.

This is not me, this is a squirrel. Photo credit.


Like many of us, I’ve been hunkered down all winter. Now suddenly I’m doing 4 events this March. Here they are:

3/3 @ 7pm: Columbia Faculty Selects at KGB Bar!
This is a great reading series for emerging Columbia School of the Arts alumni. I’ll be pinch-hitting as host. Readers will be the mesmerizing Madeline Stevens, the kinetic Keegan Lester and the scintillating Suzanne Dottino. More info here.

3/10 @ 7pm: Buddha-Killers at the Morbid Anatomy Museum!
This is going to be a good one: a Killing the Buddha evening of death-affirming readings in support of Ann Neumann’s new book, The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America. You’ll also hear from Peter Manseau, Scott Korb and yours truly. (I plan to read from something that’s going to kill, har har.) Also there will be musicians singing murder ballads! And a lawyer to talk about advance directives! More info here.

3/24 @ 7pm: Books + Booze!
Join the delightful Clémence Boulouque in conversation with 3 eminent novelists on the topic of Jewish fatherhood (and how to survive it). There will be whiskey — and me giving a short introductory talk on booze and Jews. More info here.

3/30 @ 7.30pm: Guerilla Lit at Dixon Place!
This will be another good one. I’ll read from new work along with Gint Arras and Jacob Appel. More info here.

If all that’s not enough, check out the Hidden River Writers website, which published an entertaining interview with me about my e-book publishing company, Dutch Kills Press. And as usual feel free to buy one of my novellas.


(Once Again) What Is a Novella?

The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy. (Photo by C.K.H., via Flickr.)

The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy. (Photo by C.K.H., via Flickr.)


[Reposting this because I got the question again the other day.]

I’ve had good luck with novellas lately. I recently published one as a Kindle Single and I had another one accepted (although I don’t have a pub date yet).

Anyway, it got me thinking: what is a novella?

Of course it’s an issue of length. A novella is longer than a short story and shorter than a novel. But how much longer? How much shorter?

A little Internet research turned up the rules for the Nebulas, a science fiction award. Here’s their criteria:

  1. Short Story: less than 7,500 words;
  2. Novelette: at least 7,500 words but less than 17,500 words;
  3. Novella: at least 17,500 words but less than 40,000 words
  4. Novel: 40,000 words of more.

Note the category for “novelettes,” which strikes me as a little fussy. But it does make sense for the judges: it doesn’t seem right to put an 8,000-word story in the same category as a 17,000-word one.

Rules aside, I found a lot of interesting stuff about novellas—interesting because there’s a certain defensiveness about them.

In the New Yorker, Ian McEwan calls the novella “the perfect form of prose fiction.” But only after mentioning that the critics gave him a hard time after he published one.

More recently, in the Millions, Nick Ripatrazone proclaimed that “Writers of novellas have nothing to be sorry about.” Which is the kind of thing you say after someone expects you to be sorry about something.

The defensiveness is justified. When Julian Barnes won the 2011 Booker Prize with a 150-page book, the Guardian published a dubious piece about novellas.

Personally, though, I don’t feel the need to defend the genre. A story suggests its own form. You make it as long as it needs to be. It’s very hard to publish novellas, but it’s hard to publish anything.

The Corrosive Effects of Other People’s Success



New fiction from Alex Kudera.

Roger Frade is a famous writer who sends mixed signals to vulnerable women like Ellen Malone. Ellen’s friend Alan hates Frade even as he struggles with his own work and romance. A touching, funny story about the corrosive effects of other people’s success.

To buy the e-book (and learn more about its publisher, Dutch Kills Press), click here.



If Hemingway Was Funny


New fiction from David Samuel Levinson.

Bernadette used to love Colin. And now Colin wonders why he ever let her go.

Imagine Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” with a sense of humor, and a diminutive Australian named Boris. $1.99.

To buy the e-book (and learn more about its publisher, Dutch Kills Press), click here.

The Quiet Desperation of Rhode Islanders


New fiction from Mike Heppner.​ Professor Munch, a cranky widower, wants to live out his days in peace. But his middle-aged daughter has returned with her ludicrously diffident boyfriend, and they keep having loud sex. A disturbing, funny, penetrating novella. Only $2.99. To buy the e-book (and learn more about its publisher, Dutch Kills Press), click here.

The Greatest Writer Who Never Wrote


New fiction from Dan Friedman. A fixture in postwar Paris, M. Blanc left only these letters behind. The Complete Letters of M. Blanc is an epistolary novella with echoes of Borges and a Nabokovian flair. $2.99. To buy the e-book (and learn more about its publisher, Dutch Kills Press), click here.


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