A Replacement Life – Blog Tour & Review
Title: A Replacement Life
Author: Boris Fishman
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours/Publisher
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.
This book was a unique read. Yes, it has many of the same ingredients of other recent novels: set in NYC, set in the crazy world of magazine publishing, young single 20-something year old characters looking for themselves and reconciling their desires with family expectations. What makes A Replacement Life different is the cast of characters. Characters that span Manhattan elite to Russian immigrants who make their money selling burial plots to fellow immigrants. A Replacement Life is a study on the relationships between different generations and different cultures that can be found within a single family.
I liked Boris Fishman’s writing style immediately. He sees the humor and irony found in so many aspects of day to day living and did not hold back in sharing his main character’s flaws. Yet as flawed as Slava was, I found myself really liking him.
I liked this book. It is definitely dark and covers some serious subjects but Fishman found a way to use humor in just the right places to lighten it up.
*Thank you to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy of this book. My review is an honest reflection of my views on A Replacement Life.