Brighton Beach: Novel

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iUniverse, Apr 1, 2002 - Fiction - 320 pages
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The Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn is populated by what might be called "external emigrants", the people who in emigrating have changed nothing about their lives but their location. Brighton Beach, the novel about this Jewish immigrant community, is a satiric look at this island of Russian life in New York City. Levine, a well-known Odessa writer, arrives in New York and peddles his single book stories under several titles. There is also Pishonik, who runs the second-hand store and has a thriving under-the-counter business in stolen jewelry, just as in Odessa he'd dealt in produce. A taxi driver who sells drugs on the side and dreams of opening a luncheonette. Seva, who works odd jobs and dreams of buying a taxi. There's even a schoolboy with his own get-rich-quick mail-order scam. The intellectuals: Volodya, sets about beginning a new, healthier life as a housepainter; Aaron, who was a teacher in Odessa, opens a leather-goods factory and tries to run it, but thwarted at every turn. Marat, a would-be writer and too na´ve to understand the venality which surrounds him, eventually gives the writer Levine his comeuppance. Faya, Seva's wife, hunts the stairwells in their apartment building in search of Volodya and a more genteel life. Beba and Mina, sisters long to be free of their tyrannical father. There is the Organization of Aid Emigrants, under the direction of the kindly and unsuspecting American Mrs. Welch, and run by emigrants. And throughout the book there is a chorus of emigrants strolling on the broadwalk, lining up for free eyeglasses or cheap apartments, and sending pictures, presents and boastful letters home to their Odessa relative about how good life is in America, This novel gives the reader a colorful picture of this thriving community on the sultry summer streets of Brooklyn.
 

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