Cover image for A replacement life : a novel
Title:
A replacement life : a novel
Author:
Fishman, Boris, 1979- , author.
Edition:
Unabridged, Library edtion.
Publication Information:
[Old Saybrook, CT] : Tantor Audio, [2014]

â„—2014
Physical Description:
9 audio discs (10 hours) : digital, optical, 1.4 m/s, stereophonic ; 4 3/4 in.
Summary:
"A singularly talented writer makes his literary debut with this provocative, soulful, and sometimes hilarious story of a failed journalist asked to do the unthinkable: Forge Holocaust-restitution claims for old Russian Jews in Brooklyn, New York. Yevgeny Gelman, grandfather of Slava Gelman, "didn't suffer in the exact way" he needs to have suffered to qualify for the restitution the German government has been paying out to Holocaust survivors. But suffer he has -- as a Jew in the war; as a second-class citizen in the USSR ; as an immigrant to America. So? Isn't his grandson a "writer"? High-minded Slava wants to put all this immigrant scraping behind him. Only the American Dream is not panning out for him -- Century, the legendary magazine where he works as a researcher, wants nothing greater from him. Slava wants to be a correct, blameless American -- but he wants to be a lionized writer even more. Slava's turn as the Forger of South Brooklyn teaches him that not every fact is the truth, and not every lie a falsehood. It takes more than law-abiding to become an American ; it takes the same self-reinvention in which his people excel. Intoxicated and unmoored by his inventions, Slava risks exposure. Cornered, he commits an irrevocable act that finally grants him a sense of home in America, but not before collecting a price from his family. A Replacement Life is a dark, moving, and beautifully written novel about family, honor, and justice"--
General Note:
Title from disc.

Compact disc.
Language:
English
Added Author:
Added Corporate Author:
ISBN:
9781494535469

9781494505462
Format :
Audiobook on CD

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Summary

Summary

Yevgeny Gelman, grandfather of Slava Gelman, "didn't suffer in the exact way" he needs to have suffered to qualify for the restitution the German government has been paying out to Holocaust survivors. But suffer he has-as a Jew in the war; as a second-class citizen in the USSR; and as an immigrant to America. High-minded Slava wants to put all this immigrant scraping behind him. Only the American Dream is not panning out for him. Slava's turn as the Forger of South Brooklyn teaches him that not every fact is the truth, and not every lie a falsehood. Intoxicated and unmoored by his inventions, Slava risks exposure. Cornered, he commits an irrevocable act that finally grants him a sense of home in America, but not before collecting a price from his family.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Critic and short story writer Fishman's first novel concerns the risks and the rewards of fiction, but it isn't as postmodern as that sounds. Instead, it's a straight-ahead story about committing fraud for all the right reasons love, family, and Holocaust restitution. Slava Gelman, lapsed Jew from a former Soviet republic, is a blocked writer who works at Century, a venerable magazine headquartered in Manhattan. Slava's grandfather, Yevgeny, a notorious fixer and thug with a heart of gold, is always on the take. When it turns out that Slava's recently deceased grandmother would have been eligible for reparations from the German government, Slava decides to forge the claim, grafting the scanty details of her terrible wartime experiences onto his grandfather's. Soon, in part because of Slava's burning desire to write, he is forging dozens of restitution claims. Though saccharinity and righteousness taint this tale, Fishman has talent galore, and an attractive love interest, funny set-pieces, a brochure-beautiful Big Apple, and spectacular, acutely self-conscious prose are all most enjoyable.--Autrey, Michael Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

The debut novel from Fishman shines with a love for language and craft. Minsk-born 25-year-old Slava Gelman has made it to the bottom of top-tier journalism. He's junior staff at Century magazine, and he's just been given a shot at a byline. But the death of his Holocaust-survivor grandmother throws self-involved Slava's life out of focus. His grandfather-a quick-to-brag but resourceful man who "gets things"-pressures Slava into forging a restitution claim letter for Slava's deceased grandmother, then spreads the news around his South Brooklyn neighborhood of Slava's availability to write such fraudulent letters. Soon, Slava finds himself sharing secrets with strangers whose war stories, full of "the oddly specific details he had come to learn make a narrative feel authentic," leave him feeling much closer to his grandmother. Fishman's description of the precious information that grandparents pass down is beautiful; their memories have been a burden for Slava, whose grandfather's meandering stories about Soviet life leave him "feeling like a failure because he was letting gold slip away in a fast-moving river," but he learns their real value in the course of this forging scheme. Writers like Slava, and like Fishman, have a responsibility to do justice to the beauty in the details, and Fishman achieves that handily here. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Slava Gelman has distanced himself from his immigrant family of Russian Jews so that he can become truly American. When his grandmother dies, his grandfather convinces Slava to submit a claim to the German government program for restitution to Holocaust survivors. The catch is that his dead grandmother qualified but his living grandfather does not. Slava amends the story, making the application in his grandfather's name. He suddenly finds that his grandfather has spread the word to the entire -Russian community and that everyone wants Slava to write (read: invent) their narratives. When Otto, from the Center for Restitution, contacts Slava about the many applications received from his neighborhood, he must weigh truth against morality. VERDICT Fishman, an emigre from Belarus, captures the complexities of family, nationality, and history as he cleverly ties the loose ends of truth, justice, morality, and family into a tidy bow in his first novel.-Joanna Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Libs., Providence (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.