Around town, I kept hearing that the editors of UNO Press, Abram Himelstein and G.K. Darby, were really excited about a new book of short stories the press had recently released, Death By Pastrami, by octogenarian New Yorker Leonard S. Bernstein (not that Leonard Bernstein).
I’ve still yet to see the book, though G.K. and Abram assure me a copy is on the way to the Room 220 offices, but it’s already garnering good press, including a review by NPR’s Fresh Air book critic. Most of the stories tell tales about New York’s fabled garment district—though the NPR critic notes that the stories leave out the district’s “darker history of sweatshops and labor disputes.” The title refers to one fictional phenomenon the book describes in which a funeral parlor director decides to advertise his services at delis selling pastrami and other high-fat, death-inducing fare. The tactic is so successful that other funeral parlors catch on and emulate it, eventually swamping delis with innuendoes of their customers’ demises and spoiling everyone’s appetites.
You can listen to the NPR piece below or read the full story here.