A Replacement Life
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A Replacement Life

3.47 (1,176 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award

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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 132.08 x 203.2 x 27.94mm | 249.47g
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0062287885
  • 9780062287885
  • 951,522

Back cover copy

Winner of the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award

Winner of the American Library Association's Sophie Brody Medal

Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award

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.
show more

Review quote

Delightful though the subject matter is largely dark, when you least expect it there is also humor which comes up and bites you in a most pleasant way A REPLACEMENT LIFE is a brilliant first novel by a talented writer. --Examiner.com"
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Rating details

1,176 ratings
3.47 out of 5 stars
5 15% (179)
4 37% (436)
3 32% (380)
2 11% (132)
1 4% (49)
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