A Replacement Life: A Novel

Front Cover
HarperCollins, Jun 3, 2014 - Fiction - 336 pages
4 Reviews

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 reparations 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 in 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 a truth and not every lie a falsehood. It takes more than law-abiding to become an American; it takes the same self-reinvention at 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 lasting price from his family.

A Replacement Life is a dark, moving, and beautifully written novel about family, honor, and justice. 

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Review: A Replacement Life

User Review  - holly - Goodreads

I found the beginning of this book (maybe first 50 pages) to be a little slow but when it picked up I really loved it. Slava is flawed for sure, but lovable and the remaining cast of characters made for some good laughs. Very well done. Read full review

Review: A Replacement Life

User Review  - Gail - Goodreads

Anyone ever read David Sedaris' article about visiting the Anne Frank house and coming to the realization that it was prime real estate? Edgy article - almost over the edge of good taste. But not quite. Read full review

About the author (2014)

Boris Fishman was born in Belarus 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, the New Republic, the Wall Street Journal, the London Review of Books, and other publications. He lives in New York City.

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