The New Order by Karen E. Bender

The New Order

The New Order shows a singular writer at the top of her form dealing with contemporary themes and ideas, shining a spotlight on the dark corners of our nature, our instincts, and our country.The critically acclaimed author of Refund returns with a new collection of stories that boldly examines the sense of instability that has grown stronger in American culture over the last two years through the increasing presence of violence, bigotry, sexual h...

Details The New Order

TitleThe New Order
Release DateNov 6th, 2018
PublisherCounterpoint Press
GenreShort Stories, Fiction, Audiobook, Literary Fiction

Reviews The New Order

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    I’m really growing to love short stories! The New Order is relevant and timely as it addresses topics in contemporary American culture. While Karen Bender confronts issues head-on, she has a way with words that is straightforward, but also calm and subtly engaging. The New Order is an assessment of the fragile times in which we are living. The stories are powerful and unexpected, yet starkly simple. The everyday is addressed in a thought-provok...
  • Mark
    "I wanted a nation in which our leaders never lied and were elected to office because of their love for and adherence to the truth. I wanted a nation where, if people got sick, they would be cared for, swiftly, tenderly, and the only concern would be that they would get well. I wanted a nation that did not conjure suspicion about entire groups of people...I wanted a nation where a person could go to school or shopping or wherever and never worry ...
  • Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
    This was my 100th book of 2018, and it couldn't have been a better choice. In fact, it might be my favorite book of 2018 so far.Some books just really hit you in your heart.This book, it was more like the heart, gut, throat, chest—a full body knockout.Karen E. Bender’s stories in this new collection are something different, something necessary for our fragile, tumultuous social and political landscape. She begins in small moments in the lives...
  • Donald Powell
    A group of fictional stories which could be easily transported to the Twilight Zone. Very dystopian. Very pessimistic. Each searching for faith and hope. The endings are unique (avoiding spoiler alerts). The author was inventive and the stories held my interest, primarily from that. The last story was the best, only ten pages. The world can be cold and forbidding but I have picked another book with a sad, doomed sense. We all need more love, incl...
  • Nancy
    The last story in this short story collection is on LeVar Burton Reads, and when I went to Goodreads to see what collection it belonged to, I decided to read the entire book as author Karen Bender's stories grabbed my attention with how she connects our changing 21st century with her precise character studies. A few of my favorites: Three Interviews: A woman in her 40's is desperate for a job after being laid off, but her three interviews all on ...
  • David
    A collection of short stories can sometimes end up being more a gamble than anything else. Such is the case with this new volume - which, alas, in comparison with the author's previous (terrific) collection ('Refund') is largely a disappointment. But the good news first: 4 of the 11 stories (stories 3-6) are good. Better than good, actually - they're remarkable. (If nothing else, be sure to read the title story; it's a stunning tale of the fate o...
  • Ankita Singh
    The New Order is a collection of stories about a variety of topics, from the way friendships change over time, to bombings and school shootings.The stories are based on the contemporary American culture of today, especially the darker parts of it.My favourite story was The Department of Happiness and Reimbursement, it was beautiful and chilling all at the same time.I loved the author's way of writing, how even the gravest, scariest of things were...
  • Tori
    Fantastic. Just fantastic. Could not put this down. This is the most intriguing set of short stories I've ever read.
  • Olga Zilberbourg
    The stories in this collection begin where Refund, Bender's previous collection, ended. Two women are developing a plan of how to secure their synagogue against a violent intrusion and argue over whether or not it's appropriate to give instruction to dislodge Torah scrolls from their ark, and what's more important, to ascribe value to the individual safety or to group identity. The anxieties about gun and sexual violence, about the state of democ...
  • Kate
    "I understood that the whole world was, in fact, an invisible cage that I could not see; I had not been aware of this cage before, but now I knew that it held me, that it held all of us, and that there was no way to get out."“The world was still hot and despairing and full of pain, and I wasn’t a giant at all, but I wasn’t dust either.”This collection sits with pain; releasing what we hold inside by acknowledging it. While it is definitel...
  • Elena
    I have found a new favorite writer and am a bit embarrassed I didn't know who Karen E. Bender was before this ARC fell into my lap. Elegant writing and powerfully packed stories with relevant topics, relatable inner dialogue, and powerful (sometimes funny) twists. Loved it!
  • Katherine
    *3.5 stars.*Many good stories here, though I felt "Mrs. America" weakened the collection. I also did not care for "This is Who You Are." *Some favorite passages:"The late afternoon glare reflected off the glass of the skyscrapers so they looked as if they were made of sun" (74)."She had a deep tone that you could hear in your stomach when she played, that made the air feel like velvet" (78). *Describing a cellist."I could see her fourteen-year-ol...
  • Chrysten Lofton
    5.0 “I was mired in my own personal grievances. I wanted.”**spoilers** If you’re here, and you’re following my reviews, thank you for rolling with me. We’re on episode 33 of Stitcher’s LeVar Burton Reads, and we’re gifted with “The Cell Phones” by Karen E. Bender.I loved this. The religious stories on this cast are always great, and they speak to me because I grew up in a deeply religious environment. There may be a universality...
  • Ed Bernard
    The New OrderRefundKaren BenderI love short stories – variety, experiments, fast reads, ideas that are worth exploring but not worth a novel. I hate short stories – frustration of incomplete stories, untraditional story arcs, wacky self-indulgence, the same-ness of a particular author’s style over and over. But mostly, I love short stories, particularly ones that are linked thematically. I read both these volumes at the same time, jumping b...
  • Lynda
    Ms. Bender's prose immediately pulled me in. Her words are as comfortable as a soft, cozy sweater but it is a false sense of security for what is to be revealed about human nature in her short story collection. The stories take place as far back as the 1970's and one even implies it takes place in the not too distant future. It seems what was, is and always will be.Read this book and contemplate just what humans have done to each other over the p...
  • Eric Weintraub
    I loved this short story collection. Each story was deep, fully realized and well-written. Bender tackles some heavy (and timely) subject matter: school shootings, society's treatment of women, what it's like to live in the frightening world of Trump's America. A lesser writer may have resorted to heavy-handed writing or rabble-rousing to get his or her point across. Not Bender! Instead, each story is written with elegance and honesty that keeps ...
  • Shelley Blanton-stroud
    The New Order is a brilliant story collection. It is absolutely current, a mosaic of today and the yesterdays that brought us here. It is beautifully, simply crafted, never overwritten. It is intimate, telling us the shameful and beautiful things people feel. But it also reveals a moral hopefulness that had me crying on the first day of this year as I finished the book’s last lines: “The world was still hot and despairing and full of pain, an...
  • Michelle Brafman
    THE NEW ORDER is one of the best short story collections I've read in years. Karen Bender responds to the turmoil that is today's America with wisdom, wit, humanity, irony, and enormous heart. Never preachy or sanctimonious, her stories provide a profound lens into the havoc our "new order" wreaks on our souls, as individuals and as a country. With her elegant prose, she effortlessly braids the personal and the political in a way that forces the ...
  • Erica
    Okay, to be honest, I didn't read the entire book - I am a children's librarian, and I need to read more children's books. When I pick up adult fiction, I want it to be ridiculously lightweight - not well-written, thought-provoking, slice-of-life-realism, and too closely resembling uncomfortable moments in my own life. Bender's descriptions are helplessly accurate in depicting my own life & thought process. I think the main divergence between wha...
  • Jolynn
    I have to say I was kind of annoyed by the first two stories in this book — the premise of the first and the main character of the second just grated on me. But I am so glad I stuck it out and finished reading it because I thought the collection as s whole was very well done and there were several outstanding stories. Loved The Cell Phones, On a Scale of One to Ten, Mrs America and The Good Mothers in the Parking Lot in particular. Several of t...
  • Brooke
    I lovehate short story collections, because once you really get invested in one, it comes to a close quicker than you would like. A really good short story collection for me has to have stories that leave you wanting more yet also leave you a little sad after the final sentence. The stories in this collection were a mix of bittersweet nostalgia, ruminations on one’s faith and daily life, and a dystopian arc that I’m still not fully over and w...
  • Maureen O'Leary
    From the first sentence to the last page, these stories flow like silk in a collection that I found impossible to put down. Each story is crafted in and for precisely these strange political times, rooted in still classic themes of community and faith. These stories also give a particularly unflinching eye towards the despair inherent in the pressure to make a living in a precarious and shifting economy. Karen Bender is a master of the short stor...
  • Jenna Evans
    Last week's library checkouts were this book and a new novel by Very Famous Male Author, and while I found I couldn't get past chapter one of VFMA's cringe-inducing attempt to write a female narrator, I was completely enraptured by Bender's profound, precise and economical exploration of class, age, childhood, female friendships, and American culture (among other topics). Can't help but notice that this prodigiously talented writer writing at the...
  • Cody
    Not much of an impact compared to her earlier work. I enjoy politics and actually align myself with most of Bender's, but I dislike when they obviously affect someone's narrative like they did in this piece. Some stories stood out way more than others.... just felt like it was a rushed collection to be written and published during the Trump presidency. Still a great writer and looking forward to reading more of her work.
  • Rachel
    Bewildered by life’s twists and turns: that describes many of the characters in Karen E. Bender’s short stories in “The New Order” (Counterpoint) and Binnie Kirshenbaum’s novel “Rabbits for Food” (Soho). How the characters cope, or don’t cope, with the problems they face is what creates tension and interest in both works.See the rest of my review at
  • Martha
    This collection of short stories contemplates life from different perspectives. One story, “The Department of Happiness and Reimbursement,” deserves an indie film treatment. Truly. Heartily agree with the LA Times reviewer who noted that Karen Bender is willing to “go deep, to burrow down into what’s right and wrong about 21st century America.” The story, “The Cell Phones,” best illustrates this. Looking forward to reading Ms. Bende...
  • Courtney Landis
    I loved this collection. All of the characters feel really human, silly and flawed and earnestly written, but not caricatures. And as I said earlier this week, these stories are so specifically placed in time, from a synagogue prepping for a shooting to a Sarah Palin-esque senate candidate with a rebellious daughter.
  • Rachel
    I only read a couple of the stories in the collection and they were interesting, intriguing, well-developed and well-written. The first story "Where to Hide in a Synagogue" was obviously written and published before the Pittsburgh massacre but it was extremely difficult to read after the fact and I would imagine it has new and different meaning for the author as well.
  • SeaShore
    The good thing about a book of short stories is the reader can skip to the ones that seem at the moment full of flavor and purpose. In this collection, I sought to discover for myself a common theme."Where to hide in a Synagogue", indirectly warns attendees that now in the 21st century, what should we do to avoid being shot in a place of worship. In case you think you are the only one who is afraid to ride an elevator alone or worse, with one oth...