"In this book, Shrayer describes an emotional journey-not just from Russia to America, but from spiritual darkness into light. The book also explains why Jews felt forced to leave a country they loved, when it grew clear that country would never, could never, love them in return."—Wyatt Andrews, CBS News national correspondent
"Maxim D. Shrayer’s stunning memoir Leaving Russia . . . should be assigned reading for anyone interested in the Jewish experience of the twentieth century."—Jewish Book World
"Maxim D. Shrayer grew up as a refusenik in the Soviet Union, and this exquisite memoir tells the story of what that meant. An unforgettable first-person account of Jewish life and Jewish suffering during the final years of Russian Communism."—Jonathan D. Sarna, Brandeis University, author of When General Grant Expelled the Jews
Narrated in the tradition of Tolstoy’s confessional trilogy and Nabokov’s autobiography, Leaving Russia: A Jewish Story is a searing account of growing up a Jewish refusenik, of a young poet’s rebellion against totalitarian culture, and of Soviet fantasies of the West during the Cold War. Shrayer’s remembrances ore set against a rich backdrop of politics, travel, and ethnic conflict on the brink of the Soviet empire’s collapse. His moving story offers generous doses of humor and tenderness, counterbalanced with longing and violence.
Born in Moscow in 1967 in a writer's family, Maxim D. Shrayer is a professor at Boston College and a bilingual writer and translator. Shrayer has authored over ten books, among them, the memoir Waiting for America, the story collection Yam Kippur in Amsterdam, and the Holocaust study I Saw It. Shrayer's Anthology of Jewish-Russian Literature won a 2007 National Jewish Book Award, and in 2012, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife and two daughters. Visit Shrayer's website at www.shrayer.com.
6 x 9, 346 pages, 44 black and white illustrations, 1 maps