"Inventive and haunting, these are works of stunning imagination from a profoundly gifted storyteller."—Booklist
"A lively and artful set of stories. [Shrayer-Petrov's] sharp wit and deeply moving prose sweep us into ripping memories of a past awash with personal struggle against a fierce Soviet Union and through the strains and expectations of a new immigrant to America. . . Engaging insights, with colorful, unforgettable, characters. . . . A triumph."—Rabbi Harvey J. Fields
"We have been waiting a long while for a new collection of Jewish tales to arrive and finally they are here. . . . An excellent collection. . . . Highly recommended."—Ray Bradbury
From the deceptively simple narrative (Apple Cider Vinegar, Hurricane Bob) to the surrealist story (Dismemberers) and the magical tale (Jonah and Sarah and Lanskoy Road), the tempo fluctuates, but throughout, Shrayer-Petrov seamlessly preserves familiar voices. The stories have a genuine feel of the setting and epoch—the Russian stories work as narratives of everyday life, while the American stories offer an accurate sense of an émigré’s alienation.
Like all good works of fiction, these stories take on a mythic quality and transcend time and place. Each carries and communicates to the reader an aura of mystery, the enigma of love, and a meeting of the Jewish past and present. Whether he invokes lyrical dialogue, gentle irony, or sharp polemical discourse, Shrayer-Petrov shows that he is a powerful presence in Russian and Jewish literature. For those interested in fiction about new immigrants to America or in the psychology of Jews in the two decades before the Soviet Union’s collapse, this collection is a must read.
David Shrayer-Petrov, a well-known Russian-American writer and medical scientist, has published sixteen books, including Herbert and Nelly, which was nominated for the Booker Russian Prize. His recent work includes a novel, Töstemaa Castle and a poetry collection, Form of Love.
Maxim D. Shrayer, David Shrayer-Petrov’s son, is professor of Russian and English at Boston College. His books include The World of Nabokov’s Stories, Russian Poet/Soviet Jew, and the Anthology of Jewish-Russian Literature, 1800-2000.