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Leaving Russia: A Jewish Story (Library of Modern Jewish Literature) Hardcover – December 3, 2013
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"... [an] exquisite memoir ... [an] unforgettable first-person account of Jewish life and Jewish suffering during the final years of Russian Communism.
-- Jonathan D. Sarna, Brandeis University, author of When General Grant Expelled the Jews
"In his eloquently written memoir ... Maxim D. Shrayer takes readers on a moving journey back to his Soviet childhood behind the Iron Curtain. ... One might see "Leaving Russia" as a bitter book, filled with traces of trauma the author experienced during his Soviet years. He does not try to hide his emotional scars, still present 25 years later. Yet, the autobiography, written in the narrative styles of Tolstoi and Shrayer's favorite author, Nabokov, depicts many happy moments of love, friendship, family vacations, travels and literary growth."
-- Jewish Journal
Leaving Russia: A Jewish Story, Maxim Shrayer's nuanced memoir of his youth in the Soviet Union, reads less like the nonfiction account that it is, and more like a literary work. ... Shrayer tarries over the landscapes he loves, the many attitudes toward Jews and being Jewish he experienced, the meaning of coming of age as a refusenik during the waning days of the Soviet Union, and his own complex ... emotions about being both Russian and Jewish.
-- New Jersey Jewish News
About the Author
Maxim D. Shrayer is a professor at Boston College and a bilingual writer and translator. Shrayer has authored ten books, among them the memoir Waiting for America, the collection Yom Kippur in Amsterdam, and the Holocaust study I Saw It: Ilya Selvinsky and the Legacy of Bearing Witness to the Shoah.
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Max, you are a brilliant man. You are strong. To have dreams and then have to change gears just to stay in school so you wouldn't have to go into the military and put your heart and soul into your university life, is quite admirable.
I enjoyed learning about the ways of Russia. I enjoyed learning about a life firsthand. A Jewish life.
The only thing missing from this book is how you, Max, met your wife. A chapter about your dates and wedding and then birth of your children would have been amazing to read about. It would have culminated what your dreams were and still are today. Why isn't it in the book? Why did you spend so much time writing about your great grandparents and leave this out? I kept reading until the end, hoping to hear about your happiness with the one you married.
Yes, I enjoyed your book. Yes, I would recommend it.
Thank you for writing your story.
Beautifully written, and including a generous amount of photos, Leaving Russia fleshes out the details of what everyday life was like for refuseniks in the the Soviet Union.