Boris Fishman's A Replacement Life is proof that summarizing a novel is an unjust way of describing it. The publisher's description of the novel as the story of "a failed journalist asked to do the unthinkable: forge Holocaust-restitution claims for old Russian Jews" may give the impression that the novel is about the Holocaust, when, in fact, it is a very entertaining, witty story about Russian and Soviet immigrants living in Brooklyn.
The protagonist, Slava Gelman, who, like Fishman, came to the States as a child, has one foot in the old world of his parents and grandparents, and one in the new world, which is symbolized by Century, a prestigious New York magazine where he works. Fishman's characters Slava and his relatives, as well as their neighbors and friends are vivid and persuasive. They also display a disregard for the law, something common to those who have ...
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