A failing young Russian American journalist's life is unexpectedly transformed when he forges Holocaust restitution claims for his rogue grandfather and his friends
Slava Gelman wants to be a great writer, but can't get past his job as a lowly researcher at a New York magazine. Then his beloved grandmother dies, and his grandfather corners him with a request: to write a few Holocaust retribution claims that aren't quite true. Slava is reluctant, but when he gets into it, his semi-fictional accounts of a generation's real suffering turn out to be the best writing he has ever done - and a surprisingly wonderful way for Slava to reconnect with his family and his own roots. Although he lives in fear of discovery and continues to stumble from one tragicomic incident to another, by the time Slava is finally confronted by a German government employee he is ready to play a role that is - almost - heroic. A beautifully written, emotionally powerful literary debut about family love, memory and the truth in fiction.
Boris Fishmanwas born in Minsk, Belarus, in 1979 and immigrated to the United States at the age of nine. He is the editor ofWild East: Stories from the Last Frontier, and his work has appeared in theNew Yorker,The New York Times Magazine,New Republic,Wall Street Journal,London Review of Books,New York Times Book Reviewand other publications. He lives in New York City.A Replacement Lifeis his first novel.
`A Replacement Lifeis a memorable debut by a wonderfully gifted young writer... Boris Fishman has written a beautifully nuanced, tender, and often very funny novel about conscience and familial loyalty that will linger long in the memory' - Joyce Carol Oates
'Is there room in American fiction for another brilliant young émigré writer? There had better be, because here he is. Boris Fishman's first novel,A Replacement Life, is bold, ambitious and wickedly smart... The only problem with this novel is that its covers are too close together. I wanted more' - Patricia T. O'Conner,New York Times Book Review
'Astonishingly brilliant... we are left satisfyingly provoked by the book's deeper questions about culture and ethics and survival and human nature itself' -Chicago Tribune
'Mordantly funny and moving' -The New York Times
'So strong in voice, humor, and compassion that it transcends fiction's limitations to become something wilder and more contained - like life. What a remarkable debut - true and resonate, humorous and real' - Hilton Als
'Shines with a love for language and craft' - starred review,Publishers Weekly
'Fishman fearlessly tackles the grandest subjects... a writer not only to watch but envy' - Tom Bissell
'A terrific talent... a gifted and accomplished writer' - Salvatore Scibona
'Stunning...A Replacement Lifedeserves a wide audience' - Jim Harrison
'A novel that works beautifully on many levels' - Arthur Phillips
'A hell of a book. Told with amazing virtuosity, fun and serious, funny and sad, profound and eminently readable' - Darin Strauss
'Suffused with elegant language and sly humor and composed with the authority of a novelist on intimate terms with both his subject matter and art form' - Teddy Wayne, author ofThe Love Song of Jonny Valentine
'There's a touch of Gogol here, a touch of Babel, a touch of Dostoyevsky, but... Boris Fishman has fashioned something distinctively and triumphantly his own' - Brian Morton, author ofStarting Out in the Evening