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The Yid: A Novel av Paul Goldberg
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The Yid: A Novel (utgåvan 2017)

av Paul Goldberg (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1345203,546 (4)3
"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"--… (mer)
Medlem:nblex
Titel:The Yid: A Novel
Författare:Paul Goldberg (Författare)
Info:Picador (2017), Edition: Reprint, 320 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

Verksinformation

The Yid av Paul Goldberg

  1. 00
    The World to Come av Dara Horn (lmtrott)
    lmtrott: Though partially set in America, it's another compelling story wonderfully steeped in Yiddish Russian culture.
  2. 00
    The Death of Stalin av Fabien Nury (Anonym användare)
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Visar 5 av 5
If I told you that a novel about Stalin’s plans for a second Holocaust will make you laugh out loud, you’d probably wonder whether all this reading I do had tipped me over the edge. But The Yid, whose title merely hints at provocations to come, conducts an irresistible guerrilla war against Russia, the Soviet secret police, and anti-Semitism—inevitably intertwined—as a darkly comic theater of the absurd.

It’s 1953, and though Stalin’s rumored to be dying, the killings and “disappearances” continue unabated, at his orders. The Great Leader has been assembling lists of Jews and collecting rolling stock from the farthest reaches of the empire, preparing for a mass pogrom to rival Hitler’s.

Meanwhile, the secret police have been rounding up Jews for torture, “confession,” and murder, and the blood libel has as strong a currency among Russians as ever (the notion that Jews require Christian blood for ritual purposes, specifically to make Passover matzos).

Consequently, one early morning in February, three secret-service thugs enter the Moscow apartment of Solomon Shimonovich Levinson, an actor from the now-defunct Jewish State Theater. I won’t tell you what happens next, only that he surprises his captors.

Levinson conceives a bizarre, hopeless plan: to assassinate Stalin and prevent the pogrom from going any further. Levinson’s profession and needling, cynical sense of humor lead people who get swept up in his scheme to wonder whether he’s serious. But he is. And the cast he assembles for his drama (which appears in sections labeled “acts,” occasionally rendered in playscript) includes several memorable performers.

There’s Friederich Lewis, an African-American who fled Chicago (and other places) for the USSR because he believed that racism wouldn’t exist in the Soviet paradise. He speaks fluent Russian and Yiddish, the latter of which allows him to understand and respond to Levinson’s quips and insults.

Russians call Lewis “Paul Robeson,” whom they supposedly admire, yet they expect Lewis to be only a half-step above an ape, even though he’s studied Communist theory more coherently than they and is a gifted engineer. In a final absurdity, he must often go about in whiteface to carry out Levinson’s plan; as a black man, he’d stick out, otherwise.

Aleksandr Kogan, a surgeon, regularly faces anti-Semitism, because, in the Russian mind, Jewish doctors are murderers, intent on infecting the population. Yet Kogan feels that dignity under pressure is important, so when ignoring the bigots doesn’t help, he tries to reason with them. Kima Petrova, a young woman who goes out of her way to challenge death, says nothing about herself. But we learn that the police say her mother blew her brains out and left behind a typed suicide note, though she owned no weapon and no typewriter. The typed note was a carbon copy.

Kogan observes, “Let’s be fair: in our country, you don’t have to be a decent person in order to get arrested.” But it helps. When the secret police warn him that he’s about to be arrested, and that he should make a full confession, Kogan rebuts the accusations one by one. The most absurd is that he’s killed a fellow doctor, another Jew, because, his interrogator says, “Sometimes you have to kill one of your own, so people won’t think you are killing only Russians.”

The interrogation follows the same lunatic pattern as random expressions of anti-Semitism, so Goldberg seems to be saying that the paranoia of the bigot and the secret service are one and the same. And with Lewis, the author makes a similar point: people don’t listen to this man, who should be a hero, because that would challenge their prejudice that he’s not really human.

Goldberg made up less of The Yid than it might appear. Stalin’s final purge, which took place shortly before the novel opens, involved accusations against eminent doctors who had treated top party officials. When those patients died, Stalin accused the doctors of murdering them as part of an international Jewish conspiracy to undermine the regime.

To assume that he’d plan a national pogrom in response may sound far-fetched. But in his afterword, Goldberg insists that the lists of Jews and the movements of rolling stock have been documented. He dedicates the novel to his parents, whose names were on the lists. ( )
  Novelhistorian | Jan 31, 2023 |
“THE YID GUARANTEES THAT YOU WILL NEVER THINK OF STALINIST RUSSIA, SHAKESPEARE, THEATER, YIDDISH, OR HISTORY THE SAME WAY AGAIN.” This is a novel of racism, genocide, secret police, and absurdity set in the 1953 Soviet Union with a backdrop of Shakespeare. There is a healthy dose of fascinating Soviet history with is revolutionaries, artists, and anti-Semitism along with a comedically theater of the absurd. In Stalin’s “Final Solution” plans to purge all Jews from Russia, government agents knock on the door of Solomon Levinson, a marginal actor from a closed Yiddish State Theater company, setting off a Kafkaesque path of no return. Levinson and his bizarre cast of friends and acquaintances devise a simple plan to kill the “mad King Stalin” before his final plans can be realized. “As hilarious as it is moving, as intellectual as it is violent, Paul Goldberg’s The Yid is a tragicomic masterpiece of historical fiction”
  HandelmanLibraryTINR | Nov 9, 2017 |
Promos for this compared it to Catch-22 and it was a little like that, but I also thought of The Golden Calf by Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov (translated by Konstantin Gurevich and Helen Anderson). And the disposal of the bodies reminded me of the 1955 movie The Lady Killers. Whatever it reminds one of, it's a great book all by itself. Library book. ( )
  seeword | Aug 8, 2016 |
In 1953, in Stalin's Russia, a knock at the door in the middle of the night meant someone was going for a long ride to nowhere. Iosef Vissarionovich has planned his own final solution to the "Jewish problem" and is determined to succeed where Hitler failed. But a small group of mismatched comrades (small "c") decide they will not be taken, nor go without a fight when the Black Maria comes. They hatch a plot to take out Stalin himself, and from one outlandish improvised move to the next, they begin to make us believe they can do it. This is dark, sometimes brutal, satire, with overtones of the absurd. The presentation is very theatrical, and the characters allude often to Shakespeare, particularly to King Lear, as one of our protagonists is a former actor with mad skills in other areas. I think this novel is a masterpiece, and as with many such, it will take me more than one reading to fully appreciate it. ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Jun 20, 2016 |
My thoughts:

A satirical mad-cap adventure tale makes excellent use of effectively blending history, family stories and ingenious imagination.
It is February 1953 and Stalin is about to unleash his biggest pogrom – the elimination of Jewish people from Russia, but as the reader will learn in the first pages the cast of eclectic characters have a plan to foil this plan.

I quickly became endeared to the characters as every time it looked like they were doomed – their imperturbable demeanor got them out of a dodgy situation.

The play-like format organizes the story (into three acts) and the script-like dialogue that provides the philosophical musing among the characters as they proceed to their fantastical task at hand.

While there are comedic incidents, there are many sobering truths that serve to illustrate the madness of the time and place.

Overall, this is a solid debut that entertains and educates and is a welcome addition to the historical fiction genre. ( )
  bookmuse56 | Apr 7, 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"--

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