I waffled--4, or 5? One story was a misfire for me, but really just in comparison:"The Reader" had Englander's trademark hints of magic, bit the gloves were threadbare, the sleight of hand somewhat fumbling, the trick itself mostly expected, mawkish, obvious.
Every other story was outstanding.
Every story felt like a full journey, hints of an old-school plotter's love of turns, twists, and climactic dazzle; and yet, strangely, each also aeems indebted to--or to embody--other, less narrative-centric traditions in the short form: Carver, Cheever, Welty, Munro, Babel, Singer. Repeatedly Englander interrogates the thorniest of ethical dilemmas: how to have faith but live humanly; how to understand revenge, but not get lost in it. He's consistently funny, and sad, and startling.