Blue Water Books & Music

Brothers, Fathers, and Other Strangers

  • Sale
  • $14.50
  • Regular price $14.95


Mitchell Waldman's new story collection, BROTHERS, FATHERS, AND OTHER STRANGERS, is now available!  (Paperback, 292 pages).    BROTHERS deals with the subjects of family dysfunction, Adolf Hitler, work, the spirit of Kurt Cobain, an angel giving an aging alcoholic a second chance, and men seeking meaning in their lives. Of the work readers have said "Waldman has crafted a nuanced and engaging collection. His stories set us on an emotional tightrope, daring us to forgo a safety net, while seducing us to look down and discover who we are. Sometimes poignantly devastating, and other times savagely funny, he guides us through family trauma, corporate America, and faithful understanding to remind us if we can be less of a stranger to the world, maybe we can be less of a stranger to ourselves." (Josh Penzone, author of The Court of Vintage Woods: Linked Stories). Readers have also said that "Brothers, Fathers, and Other Strangers is remarkable for its scope, honesty, imagination, social sensitivity, and moral concern." (Robert Wexelblatt, author of The Thirteenth Studebaker, Hsi-wei Tales, etc.) And it has been said that "[I]n Brothers, Fathers, and Other Strangers, Waldman explores masculinity, but not stereotypical masculinity. In these stories, you will see men battling their memories and emotions as they attempt to come to grips with their pasts and make a way for their lives. Waldman sets his work in reality with a dash of fantasy and the occasional twist ending. Waldman is doing something special in the short story form, and his stories will entertain, enlighten, and elate." (Hardy Jones, author of Resurrection of Childhood: A Memoir, and Every Bitter Thing).

Robert Wexelblatt expanded on BROTHERS, with the following review: "Mitchell Waldman’s latest collection comes in three parts. First, there are stories of a blended family narrated by a stepbrother and stepson with either the urgency of a teen or the retrospection of an adult. They probe a fraught relationship with a stepbrother, detachment from a stepfather, and disengagement from a biological father. The narrator’s mother provides only a small measure of consolation from the bleakness. Taken together, these stories constitute an episodic novella working out permutations of awkwardness, disappointment, baffled love, and open resentment. Waldman persuasively renders the insecurities of his narrator and the pain of blended families that fail to blend. The style here is realistic while the second section leaves realism for a series of alternative biographies of Adolf Hitler—as an immigrant in Brooklyn, a local plumber, gardening with Fraulein Braun. In one story, Hitler occupies the consciousness of a Jewish dentist as he did Poland and France. Part Three is focused on the quiet desperation of economically marginalized, socially alienated, emotionally stunted males. Two main themes of this section are bad jobs and theodicy, the implacable actual and the dubious supernatural. The stories delve into the feelings and thoughts of alienated men, the kind of American males fulminating with resentment and teetering on the cusp of despair who have had much to do with our recent politics. Brothers, Fathers, and Other Strangers is remarkable for its scope, honesty, imagination, social sensitivity, and moral concern."

The Academy of the Heart and Mind in its review of BROTHERS said that "The relationships we have with others impact us in many ways that we may not be aware of on the surface. Although most of our interactions will fade into the recesses of our subconscious, Mitchell Waldman’s Brother, Fathers, and Other Strangers is a study of these impacts through the lens of several stories focused on the relationships men have with each other. . .Waldman’s writing style and storytelling is evocative of the likes of Charles Bukowksi and Philip Roth. He does not pull punches in terms of his colorful diction and his narrative style. The reader gets the impression that the narrator is speaking to them directly. . .Waldman does a great job of establishing place through the way it unfolds in the story and how the characters interact within it. . . Waldman’s short story collection will resonate with readers who are seeking a deep dive into how others have a massive influence on the people we are inside and out".

Another reviewer said the following: "The men in Mitchell Waldman’s strong collection share a common trait: all are provided an opportunity for self-discovery. Whether they elect to act on it is another story.. . The truth of the matter, Waldman tells us, is that the men in Brothers, Fathers and Other Strangers are limited both by their circumstances and their histories. They work dehumanizing jobs and cling to marginal relationships, and yet he infuses them with a healthy conscience and a drive for self-improvement. They’re good guys who only want to be better. . . These characters are familiar to us – the men we know, love and can’t quite figure out. Waldman crafts case study after case study providing them with a chance for redemption. . . None of us can go back to the lives we’ve lived, whether for good or bad, but Waldman reminds us the past is fertile ground to be used as a guide for a better future. His collection acts as a kind of instruction guide, his men coming out more complete on the other side. These stories make compelling reading – adept prose at times poignant, humorous, luminous." (Dennis Donoghue, author of The Final One Eighty: A memoir).

And a reviewer said that "Waldman's book is strongly recommended, not just for its fine prose, but as a window into the times we left behind, told honestly" (Mike Lee, author of The Northern Line).

For more information on the book, go to

Mitchell is also the author of the short story collection, PETTY OFFENSES AND CRIMES OF THE HEART (originally published by Wind Publications), a 2015 BookBzz Prize Writers Contest finalist. Regarding the book, one reviewer has commented that "Faulkner said that an author's job is to make the extraordinary seem ordinary and to make the ordinary seem extraordinary, and in PETTY OFFENSES this is what Waldman accomplishes." Stories in the collection include a Pushcart Prize nominated story and a First Prize winning story from 13th Story Magazine.

In addition, Waldman is the author of the novel, A FACE IN THE MOON (Writers Club Press, 2000), with regard to which one commentator has stated that "with more novels like his debut tale that demonstrates Mitchell Waldman's tremendous talent for genuine characters in real life settings, the author will not remain faceless for very long."

His stories, poetry, articles, and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including, among others, Impspired Magazine, The Opiate, The Chamber Magazine, Northeast Indiana Literary Journal, Short Story Town, Bewildering Stories, The MacGuffin, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Fictive Dream, Spelk, The Academy of the Heart and Mind, Potato Soup Journal, Anser Journal, The Fear of Monkeys, The Magnolia Review, Furtive Dalliance, Whatever Our Souls, The Soft Cartel, Down in the Dirt Magazine, Literally Stories, Corvus Review, The Machinery--A Literary Collection, The Bond Street Review, Baby Lawn Literature, Peachfish Magazine, the Avalon Literary Journal, Random Sample, Crack the Spine, Fiction on the Web, Alfie Dog Fiction, The Faircloth Review, The Battered Suitcase, Epiphany, Foliate Oak, Waterhouse Review, Eunoia Review, The Brooklyn Voice, The Big Stupid Review, The Houston Literary Review, Milk Sugar, The Legendary, Litsnack, Connotation Press, Red Fez, Wind Magazine, Wilderness House Literary Review, Eclectic Flash, eFiction Magazine, Poetpourri, Mobius, Hazmat Review, Poetry Motel, The Advocate, Desperate Act, and The Rochester Times-Union. His work has also been anthologized in BEYOND LAMENT: POETS OF THE WORLD BEARING WITNESS TO THE HOLOCAUST (Northwestern University Press, 1998), AMERICA REMEMBERED (Virgogray Press, 2010), MESSAGES FROM THE UNIVERSE (iUniverse, 2002), LOOKING BEYOND (Scars Publications, 2011), PROMINENT PEN (Scars Publications, 2011), GREEN (MLM, 2010), The LIGHTHOUSE (Scars Publications, 2017), LOCKDOWN'S OVER (Scars Publications, 2021), DESERT BLOOM (Scars Publications, 2021), THE ALIEN BUDDHA GETS A REAL JOB (Alien Buddha Press, 2021), THE ALIEN BUDDHA SKIPS THE PARTY (Alien Buddha Press, 2021), and AROUND THE WORLD: LANDSCAPES & CITYSCAPES: 200 POEMS FROM POETS AROUND THE WORLD (Sweetycat Press, 2021).

Waldman serves as Fiction Editor for Blue Lake Review (, and was co-editor (with Diana Waldman) of the anthologies WOUNDS OF WAR: POETS FOR PEACE, and HIP POETRY (originally published by Wind Publications).

His book reviews have appeared at Scribes World and Midwest Book Review.

Waldman studied with Mark Costello (author of THE MURPHY STORIES and MIDDLE MURPHY) and Paul Friedman (author of AND IF DEFEATED ALLEGE FRAUD and SERIOUS TROUBLE) at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana).

Mitchell has been a writer and editor in the legal publishing field for over 35 years.

He lives in Rochester, New York, with his partner, Diana Waldman, a journalist, editor, and poet, and author of the book, A WOMAN'S SONG.