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About A Replacement Life:

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.

Praise:

“Boris Fishman fearlessly tackles the grandest subjects, among them the nature of honor and the transferability of suffering. That he succeeds this well, and with so much style and grace, marks him as a writer not only to watch but envy.” —Joyce Carol Oates

“A terrific talent dealing in serious themes … The cast of characters on display here are living flesh and blood. Just open up the book and listen to them talk! Fishman is a gifted and accomplished writer, an honest one, grounded in the real.” —Salvatore Scribona

“With heart and guts and a deep empathy for its characters, this novel serves up a painful reminder that the past is never really past. Boris Fishman is a stunning writer, and A Replacement Life deserves a wide audience.” —Jim Harrison

“A novel that works beautifully on many levels. It’s about the compromises involved in telling any story … Boris Fishman finds a new way to negotiate these tensions, a new language, even as he sometimes shows how he does it, a little magic act all its own.” —Arthur Phillips

A Replacement Life is a hell of a book. Told with amazing virtuosity, fun and serious, funny and sad, profound and eminently readable, it will make you happy until it’s over. And then you will be sad.” —Darin Strauss

About The Love Song of Jonny Valentine:

In his rave on the cover of The New York Times Book Review, Jess Walter praised Wayne’s writing for its “feats of unlikely virtuosity” and the boy at its center as “a being of true longing and depth, and…a devastating weapon of cultural criticism…You’d have to be made of triple platinum not to ache for Jonny Valentine.”

With “assured prose and captivating storytelling," The Love Song of Jonny Valentine also showcases “one of the most complicated portrayals of the mother-son relationship since Room." Touring the country in a desperate attempt to save a career he’s not sure he even wants, Jonny is both driven by his mother’s ambition and haunted by his father’s absence, constantly searching for a familiar face among the crowds. Utterly convincing, whip-smart, yet endearingly vulnerable, with an “unforgettable” voice, the eleven-year-old pop megastar sounds “like Holden Caulfield Jr. adrift in Access Hollywood hell."

Praise:

"Wayne has crafted a funny, affecting tour of our cultural wasteland...you’d have to be made of triple platinum not to ache for Jonny Valentine." Jess Walter, New York Times Book Review

"Sad-funny, sometimes cutting...more than a scabrous sendup of American celebrity culture; it’s also a poignant portrait of one young artist’s coming of age." —Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Deft and delightful . . . touching (and unexpectedly suspenseful) . . . so frank and engaging . . . A sweeter, softer-edged satire of the pop-culture carnival.” —Wall Street Journal

"The Love Song of Jonny Valentine is a fun, highly diverting read.…Wayne generates considerable sympathy for the 11-year-old kid trapped at the center of the churning entertainment machine….This is a portrait of the artist as a young brand.” —San Francisco Chronicle

Author Bio: 


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. A Replacement Life is his first novel.

Teddy Wayne, the author of Kapitoil, is the winner of a 2011 Whiting Writers’ Award and a finalist for the Young Lions Fiction Award, PEN/Bingham Prize, and Dayton Literary Peace Prize. He writes regularly for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere. He lives in New York.

Boris Fishman
In Conversation with Teddy Wayne
Wed Jun 18, 7:00PM
Event Type: 
Fiction
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Reading
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