A Replacement Life

A Replacement Life

3.48 (1,133 ratings by Goodreads)
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A failing young Russian American journalist's life is unexpectedly transformed when he forges Holocaust restitution claims for his rogue grandfather and his friends

Young Russian immigrant Slava Gelman wants to be a great American writer, but is only a researcher at a New Yorker-style magazine. When his beloved grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, dies, his grandfather corners him with a request: could he forge a few Holocaust restitution claims? Slava resists at first, but eventually his semi-fictional accounts turn out to be the best writing he has ever done. 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.

Boris Fishman was born in Minsk, Belarus, in 1979 and immigrated to the United States at the age of nine. He is the editor of Wild East: Stories from the Last Frontier, and his work has appeared in the New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, New Republic, Wall Street Journal, London Review of Books, New York Times Book Review and other publications. He lives in New York City. A Replacement Life is his first novel.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 35mm | 278g
  • One
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0957548893
  • 9780957548893
  • 662,240

Review quote

Funny and astute Sunday Times Piercing, witty and enviably well written New Statesman The real thing... Fishman is at his best... in the disputed territory between truth and lies Observer Fishman's ability to handle the highly complex moral ambiguities as well as his laugh-out-loud one-liners make this a brilliant tragicomedy - one that almost matches Howard Jacobson at his best -- Christina Appleyard Daily Mail A beautifully written novel about families, love and memory Daily Express Ingenious New Yorker Bold, ambitious and wickedly smart The New York Times (100 Notable Books of 2014) A Replacement Life is 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 emigre 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 Sly and subversive...smart and sardonic...a touching story about a tenacious way of life disappearing amidthe prosperity of America Wall Street Journal Mordantly funny and moving The New York Times A powerful yet tender narrative that explores the tug of war between the past and the future for immigrant families in America Newsweek Shines with a love for language and craft -- starred review Publishers Weekly 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 Fishman, like his protagonist, is a born storyteller with a tremendous gift for language on all brow levels, making for a captivating and rare first novel that is tender, learned, funny and deeply soulful - frequently all at the same time San Francisco Chronicle Fishman's engaging debut novel... offers a critical and affectionate portrait of the Russian-American immigrant community Bookanista 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 Stunning... A Replacement Life deserves a wide audience -- Jim Harrison 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 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 of The Love Song of Jonny Valentine That rare thing: A novel that asks the big questions, embedded in a page-turner haunted by characters who walk off the page -- Walter Kirn 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 of Starting Out in the Evening Excellent writing, memorable and "real" characters, and a compelling plot We Love This Book This sour, funny debut isn't just another tale of a Jewish intellectual in New York struggling with memories of his past Monocle In the way the he presents these [truths] to us with feeling, humor and eyes wide open, novelist Fishman doesn't miss a beat NPR/All Things Considered A Replacement Life is a novel that works beautifully on many levels. It's about the compromises involved in telling any story, but most especially stories about the Holocaust, about family, and about love. Boris Fishman finds a new way to negotiate these tensions, a new language, even as he sometimes shows how he does it, a little magic act all its own Arthur Philips Beautifully written and occasionally quite funny...[a] complicated paradox of remaining loyal to one's community while moving bravely into a new world Bookpage [Fishman's] tales offer the most powerful reckoning with the immigration experience by a Soviet-born American Jewish author this year-and, perhaps, to date Tablet Magazine Contemporary novelists have a bad habit of making immigrants appearmonolithically earthy and good-natured, but Fishman knows better... deft and funny Minneapolis Star Tribune Boris Fishman's A REPLACEMENT LIFE is one of the year's most memorable Jewish novels Howard Freedman, JWeekly.com (San Francisco)
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About Boris Fishman

Boris Fishman was born in Minsk, Belarus, in 1979; his family moved to the United States at the age of nine. He is the editor of Wild East: Stories from the Last Frontier, and his work has appeared in the New Yorker, The New York Times magazine, New Republic, Wall Street Journal, London Review of Books, New York Times Book Review and other publications. He lives in New York City. A Replacement Life is his first novel. ONE will publish his second, Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo, in 2016.
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Rating details

1,133 ratings
3.48 out of 5 stars
5 15% (175)
4 37% (423)
3 32% (361)
2 11% (129)
1 4% (45)
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