The Yid

The Yid

Book - 2016
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"Moscow, February 1953. A week before Stalin's death, his final pogrom, "one that would forever rid the Motherland of the vermin, " is in full swing. Three government goons arrive in the middle of the night to arrest Solomon Shimonovich Levinson, an actor from the defunct State Jewish Theater. But Levinson, though an old man, is a veteran of past wars, and his shocking response to the intruders sets in motion a series of events both zany and deadly as he proceeds to assemble a ragtag group to help him enact a mad-brilliant plot: the assassination of a tyrant. Levinson's cast of unlikely heroes includes Aleksandr Kogan, a machine-gunner in Levinson's Red Army band who has since become one of Moscow's premier surgeons; Frederick Lewis, an African American who came to the USSR to build smelters and stayed to work as an engineer, learning Russian, Esperanto, and Yiddish; and Kima Petrova, an enigmatic young woman with a score to settle. While the setting is Soviet Russia, the backdrop is Shakespeare: a mad king has a diabolical plan to exterminate and deport his country's remaining Jews. And wandering through the narrative, like a crazy Soviet Ragtime, are such historical figures as Paul Robeson, Solomon Mikhoels, and Marc Chagall. As hilarious as it is moving, as intellectual as it is violent--with echoes of Inglourious Basterds and Seven Samurai--THE YID is a tragicomic masterpiece of historical fiction"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Picador, 2016
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781250079039
1250079039
Branch Call Number: F GOLDB-P
Characteristics: 307 pages ; 22 cm

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e
eusebius
Aug 20, 2017

This book doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. A Russian-Yiddish language lesson? A Mickey Spillane derivation? A lesson in Soviet Jewish culture? Goldberg writes well enough, but tires me with his scattershot approach. I digress: I spent the afternoon reading Veidlinger's The Moscow State Yiddish Theater, a wonderful account of the birth and growth of this theater company. Enjoyed it a lot more than Goldberg.

Harriet_the_Spy Dec 06, 2016

At first you seem to be in a historical novel, but it soon moves over to full-on crime caper, and in the end veers wildly off history to take an irreverent and surprisingly encouraging look at totalitarianism. A motley band of Soviet misfits uses nothing more than showmanship and chutzpah to get themselves to the very seat of power. The joke really takes off about the fourth time they find themselves with a pile of bodies they need to dispose of. Repetition in this book is the very essence of its comedy, and the way to enjoy this one is to let the improbabilities and wild romps catch you up in their whirlwind.

m
maven
Apr 01, 2016

Overrated.

a
athena14
Mar 15, 2016

Starts well, but soon becomes repetitive. Mixing English, Yiddish and Russian doesn't help. A disappointment.

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Harriet_the_Spy Dec 06, 2016

Harriet_the_Spy thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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