Alice Mattison

photo by Ben Mattison

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When We Argued All Night

Response to When We Argued All Night

A review from The New York Times Book Review

Editors Choice in The New York Times Book Review

An interview by Sarai Walker on the Ecotone website

A review in Booklist

A story and interview in The Connecticut Post

A review in Shelf Awareness

A review in Jewish Book World

A listing of When We Argued All Night in the New Haven Register’s summer roundup

An interview by Sandi Kahn Shelton in her New Haven Register Book Blog

Order When We Argued All Night.

Alice Mattison's new novel, When We Argued All Night, was published by Harper Perennial on June 12, 2012. Placing imaginary people in real situations, When We Argued All Night asks how people manage to be friends, how they endure the people they love, and how any of us can make sense of history.

In 1930, Artie Saltzman and Harold Abramovitz, Jewish young men from Brooklyn, attend a Communist rally in Union Square. Artie hopes to photograph it; Harold is curious. A riot breaks out and the police smash Artie’s camera and many people’s heads. Through decades of experiences that are sometimes startling now, sometimes all too familiar, Artie and Harold and their families live their lives.

Harold reads news stories about the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews, and is horrified when he finds himself using the stories to get the attention of women. He joins the Communist Party in the thirties; in the fifties, his and Artie’s jobs as New York City schoolteachers are threatened because of their past lefty connections. In the years of the Vietnam war, Artie’s daughter Brenda struggles with her own insecurities as well as anti-war feeling. When Harold is an old man, a book he writes has a surprising fate involving a rising politician, Barack Obama. What endures are friendship, family, and love. When We Argued All Night presents in telling detail characters who are sometimes tragic and sometimes comic, but always both lovable and flawed—that is, human.

Alice Mattison's previous novel, Nothing Is Quite Forgotten In Brooklyn, was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a finalist for the Connecticut Book Award; an excerpt appeared in The New Yorker. Alice's collection of connected stories, In Case We're Separated, was a New York Times Notable Book and won the Connecticut Book Award for Fiction. She is the author of four other novels, including The Book Borrower, The Wedding of the Two-Headed Woman, and Hilda and Pearl, three earlier collections of stories, including Men Giving Money, Women Yelling, and a collection of poems, Animals. A memoir first published in The Threepenny Review, Three Bartlett Pears, is included in The Pushcart Prize XXXVI 2012, and a story first published in Ecotone, The Vandercook, appeared in PEN/​O.Henry Prize Stories 2012. Twelve of her stories have been published in The New Yorker, and other stories, poems, and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Yale Review, The Women's Review of Books, Ploughshares, The Threepenny Review, Glimmer Train, Michigan Quarterly Review (which awarded her the Lawrence Foundation Prize), Agni, and elsewhere, and have been reprinted in The Pushcart Prize and Best American Short Stories. She teaches fiction in the Bennington Writing Seminars, at Bennington College in Vermont, and teaches weeklong summer workshops in fiction at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Selected Works

A woman spends a week in her mother’s empty apartment, and everything changes for her.
A woman in her fifties seeks connection to others—in work, in friendship, in love.
A book about a trolley strike brings two women into an irresistible, difficult friendship.
A friendship between sisters-in-law, begun in the thirties, outlasts loss and anger.
Connected stories
Members of a Jewish-American family love and resist one another through the twentieth century
Links to short works
An essay about Tillie Olsen, one about writing despite interruptions, and one about junior high in the McCarthy era; an excerpt from the novel Nothing Is Quite Forgotten In Brooklyn; and several essays about writing and literature