Edited and with an Afterword by Maxim D. Shrayer
A volume that includes an autobiographical novel about a Jewish Russian boy coming to terms with his identity during World War II and three moving and evocative stories about love, medicine, and the immigrant experience.
"This deeply moving collection by Russian-American writer and medical scientist Shrayer-Petrov includes three short stories and the autobiographical novel Strange Danya Rayev, detailing a young Jewish boy’s memories of evacuation during WWII. Varied in scope, ranging from a doctor’s doomed love and exile to a Siberian prison camp, to a Japanese professor’s love for an American woman, these haunting stories evidence a past teeming with tradition and struggle, told in beautiful, inventive prose."
The powerful voice of David Shrayer-Petrov’s immigrant fiction blends Russian, Jewish, and American traditions. Collecting an autobiographical novel and three short stories, Autumn in Yalta brings together the achievements of the great Russian masters Chekhov and Nabokov and the magisterial Jewish and American storytellers Bashevis Singer and Malamud. Shrayer-Petrov’s fiction examines the forces and contradictions of love through different ethnic, religious, and social lenses.
Set in Stalinist Russia, the novel Strange Danya Rayev revolves around the wartime experiences of a Jewish Russian boy evacuated from his besieged native Leningrad to a remote village in the Ural Mountains.
In the title story Autumn in Yalta, the idealistic protagonist, Dr. Samoylovich, is sent to a Siberian prison camp because of his ill-fated love for Polechka, a tuberculosis patient. In The Love of Akira Watanabe once again unrequited love is the focus of the central character, a displaced Japanese professor at a New England university. A fishing expedition and an old Jewish recipe make for a surprise ending in Carp for the Gefilte Fish, a tale of a childless couple from Belarus and their American employers.
In the tradition of other physician-writers, such as Anton Chekhov and William Carlos Williams, Shrayer-Petrov’s prose is marked by analytical exactitude and passionate humanism. Love and memory, dual identity, and the experience of exile are the chief components.
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David Shrayer-Petrov, a well-known contemporary Russian-American writer and medical scientist, has published twenty books including Herbert and Nelly, which was nominated for the Russian Booker Prize. Maxim D. Shrayer, the author’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 An Anthology of Jewish-Russian Literature, 1800-2000.
5 1/2 x 8 1/2, 248 pages