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Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Replacement Life by Boris Fishman

According to other reviewers, this author has written a book that parallels his own.  He is a Russian immigrant who works as a writer in New York, a place that is not as Russian as some (I had no idea, but there is a city in North Dakota where about 1 in 5 residents are Russian Americans) but more so than most.

Slava has left his South Brooklyn home behind, but not the family that he grew up with there.  The book opens with the death of his grandmother and the hatching of a plan to write up fake accounts of maltreatment at the hands of the Germans during WWII in order to get restitution.  The problem is that while the Germans perpetrated a war that changed everyone of that generation's life in Russia, very few if any of them had been interned in German camps.  Therefore they did not qualify for restitution.  Slava sees the great injustice in these rules.  The Germans can afford to pay.  People have suffered and are poor.  So he spends hours upon hours writing up phony accounts of their treatment.  It is not made up at all, except for where it happened.  When he gets caught he is of two minds.  To tell or not to tell.  Read it and find out which way his wind blows.  This is a very good first effort at a novel.

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