ELKOST International Literary Agency

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Leaving Russia

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Rights sold: World English - Syracuse University Press


Leaving Russia: A Jewish Story is a story of coming of age and struggling to leave the USSR. Shrayer chronicles the triumphs and humiliations of a Soviet childhood and expresses the dreams and fears of a Jewish family that never gave up its hopes for a better life. Narrated in the tradition of Tolstoy’s confessional trilogy and Nabokov’s autobiography, this is a searing account of the KGB’s persecution of refuseniks, a poet’s rebellion against totalitarian culture, and Soviet fantasies of the West during the Cold War. Shrayer’s remembrances are set against a rich backdrop of politics, travel and ethnic conflict on the brink of the Soviet empire’s collapse. His moving story offers generous doses of humor and tenderness, counterbalanced with longing and violence. Leaving Russia is a love story in which a young Jew’s love is unrequited and his heart is forever broken by his homeland.

Praise for Maxim D. Shrayer's Leaving Russia

“Shrayer describes an emotional journey—not just from Russia to America, but from spiritual darkness into light. The book also explains why Jews felt forced to leave a country they loved, when it grew clear that country would never, could never, love them in return.” —Wyatt Andrews, CBS News National Correspondent

“An exquisite memoir. . . . An unforgettable first-person account of Jewish life and Jewish suffering during the final years of Russian Communism.” —Jonathan D. Sarna, author of When General Grant Expelled the Jews

“Written in an evocatively poetic language, Shrayer’s Leaving Russia is a remarkable book—simultaneously a sociological examination of the lives of refuseniks and an archeological investigation of Soviet memory.” —Luba Jurgenson, University of ParisIV-Sorbonne

“Leaving Russia should be assigned reading for anyone interested in the Jewish experience of the twentieth century.” —Annette Gendler, Jewish Book World