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Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

Anna in Chains, by Merrill Joan Gerber

rEprint Series Ebooks

Anna in Chains, by Merrill Joan Gerber

Gerber - Anna in Chains - Final Cover.jpg
Gerber - Anna in Chains - Final Cover.jpg

Anna in Chains, by Merrill Joan Gerber

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Anna in Chains is a collection of stories about the reality of being an elderly woman in the modern world and all the struggles that go with it.

Anna Goldman, nearly eighty years old, widowed, and living on her own in the Fairfax area of Los Angeles, struggles to remain independent as she moves through the modern world. Jewish, but disenchanted with religion in any guise, Anna eats bacon to dare God’s wrath. Living in a mixed ethnic neighborhood, Anna pronounces her prejudices against all foreigners wondering where the values of the world she remembers have gone.


“Merrill is, above all and underneath all, a crucially honest writer . . . She is one of those writers who discover us to ourselves, and move us almost more than we can bear.”—Cynthia Ozick

“Merrill Joan Gerber’s work is distinguished by the precision of its insights and the elegance of her deceptively forthright style. No one is better at rendering the complications and frustrations of ordinary lives. Her touch is light, but her work is powerful.”—Robert Stone

“Prolific Gerber creates . . . a character who rages eloquently against the coming of the night . . . Full of antic, bittersweet detail.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Widowed Anna, with her short skirts, her tart tongue, her two pianos (Mozart is her ‘religion’) and her practiced cynicism about men, moves from her apartment in Los Angeles’ Fairfax District to a retirement home, fully aware that it’s her next-to-last stop. She stares Death in the face, and he almost seems to wink . . . There are funny stories that nonetheless bear our Anna’s belief that ‘we live on the verge of catastrophe, and the natural state of life should reasonably be terror.’” —The Los Angeles Time

"Gerber has created a colorful and memorable character. Her prose is richly detailed, and along the way we learn much about the nature of loneliness and aging. The title story, set in a nursing home is truly moving . . . Happily, Gerber has dramatized Anna in these stories . . .” —Hadassah Magazine


Merrill Joan Gerber is a prize-winning novelist and short story writer. Among her novels are The Kingdom of Brooklyn, winner of the Ribalow Award from Hadassah Magazine for “the best English-language book of fiction on a Jewish theme,” Anna in the Afterlife, chosen by the Los Angeles Times as a “Best Novel of 2002” and King of the World, which won the Pushcart Editors’ Book Award.