By Michelle Brafman

Bertrand Court

Hardcover | $24.95
ISBN 978-1-938849-79-4
Paperback | $16
ISBN 978-1-938849-80-0
Ebook also available
ISBN 978-1-938849-81-7
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PREVIEW BERTRAND COURTBertrand Court Chapter One

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Washing the Dead
April 2015
Paperback ISBN 978-1-938849-51-0
ebook ISBN 978-1-938849-52-7

New Fiction from the Acclaimed Author of Washing the Dead!

Bertrand Court intertwines seventeen luminous narratives about the secrets of an unforgettable cast of politicos, filmmakers, and housewives, all tied to a suburban D.C. cul-de-sac. Linked through bloodlines and grocery lines, they respond to life’s bruises by grabbing power, sex, or the family  silver. As they atone and forgive, they unmask the love and truth that hop white picket fences.


MICHELLE BRAFMAN is the author of Washing the Dead. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in The Washington Post, Tablet, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Slate, Lilith Magazine, the minnesota review, and elsewhere. She teaches fiction writing at the Johns Hopkins University MA in Writing Program and lives in Maryland with her husband and two children.

Michelle is much in demand as a speaker. To contact her or learn more, go to

Readers Group Guide

Click the following to download the Readers Group Guide for Bertrand Court—great for book clubs, libraries, and all readers.

Praise for Bertrand Court

“With insight and empathy, Michelle Brafman portrays a wide range of interconnected characters who share heartbreak, indiscretions, and tantalizing secrets in this keenly observed multi-generational chronicle.”
J. Ryan Stradal, author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest

“Brafman’s talent for drawing human emotion shines through in this episodic, deeply sensitive, and introspective novel of the human psyche.”

“Michelle Brafman’s gorgeous linked fiction focuses on a group of astonishing characters, all grappling with power, lust,  love, sex, and how best to be alive in a complicated world, all set against the backdrop of a Washington D.C. suburb. Gloriously alive, moving, and blazingly honest—Bertrand Court is brilliant.”
Caroline Leavitt, New York Times–bestselling author of Cruel Beautiful World and Pictures of You

“What’s not to love?”

“[Brafman] employs humor, deft pacing, and artful jump-cuts to vividly and warmly evoke the lives and families of policy wonks, politicos, and housewives.”
Politics & Prose Bookstore

“These graceful, insightful stories are a testament to our complicated lives and importance of family and friends.”
Jewish Book Council

“I ripped through Bertrand Court in a single afternoon. Could not put it down. It was like binge-watching a great show. So much humor. So many stunning lines—lines that encompassed amazing ideas. What a fabulous read.”
Helen Simonson, author of The Summer Before the War and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

“Brafman’s writing is both skilled and sweet to the ear.”
Jerusalem Post

“The quiet, carefully observed moments in this collection reverberate through one another’s worlds in ways that are unexpected and profound.”
Best New Fiction

“The characters are wonderfully drawn.”
Washington Jewish Week

“I had the pleasure of tearing through this book in two days.. . . As wine lovers say about their favorite blends, the characters and flavors are so deliciously complex and play off each other. This would be a fabulous book to read with friends!”
Mary Kay Zuravleff, author of Man Alive!

“Michelle Brafman eavesdrops on the human heart and reports back to us in Bertrand Court with honesty, compassion, and soul. This is gorgeous writing, in stories lit with grace.”
Dylan Landis, author of Rainey Royal and Normal People Don’t Live Like This

“Like a Jewish Anne Lamott, Michelle Brafman reels you in with warmth, depth, and heart.”
Susan Coll, author of The Stager and Acceptance

Praise for Washing the Dead

“A fast- paced and compelling debut.” —Library Journal 

“Brafman’s tale of three generations of women shows that woundedness—damage to mind and soul—can travel down the generations, and that so can kindness, courage and, ultimately, self-healing. . . . [Washing the Dead] succeeds in showing how family history has a way of sneaking up on us from the depths of the past, shaping the present in ways both familiar and unexpected.” —Haaretz

“A heartfelt story of loss, hope, and reconciliation. Through her authentic portrayal of a Jewish community, she captures the complex essence of the mother-daughter relationship with honesty and sincerity.” —Booklist

“[a] beautifully wrought novel, one in which Brafman examines the inner lives of her characters with the dexterity of a surgeon and the compassion of a saint.” —Lilith Magazine

“Preparing the dead for traditional Jewish burial is considered the holiest and most sacred mitzvah that a Jew may perform because there is no way for the dead to repay the act of goodness. . . . In performing this mitzvah [in Washing the Dead], the protagonist cleanses herself of hatreds and misunderstandings that she has been carrying around since her youth.” —Jewish Book Council