Author: Boris Fishman
Genre: Literary fiction
Length: 319 pages
Plot Basics: Slava Gelman wants to be a staff writer for the prestigious Century magazine. But when his copy is passed over by the senior editors, he find a new outlet. Slava’s grandfather convinces him to write restitution letters to the German government for the suffering he went through as part of WWII. The only problem — Slava’s family were Russian Jews — and they aren’t eligible for the money. Slava’s work helps him try to build connections back to his family and the other eastern European immigrants, but leads him to question what is truth and who’s suffering is valuable.
Banter Points: I refused to DNF this book, even though I sorely wanted to. I’d just DNF’ed my July reading challenge book and everything was making it hard to hang on to the threads of “The Replacement Life.” My banter is that I stuck with it and successfully completed it, even when it felt terribly long.
Bummer Points: This books is a great concept and has some beautiful sentences, but it definitely suffers from literacy fiction syndrome… being too vague and making big leaps with what’s actually going on. I guess I’m glad I read it, but I’m bummed I didn’t love it more.
Word Nerd Recommendation: It might make a good book club pick, but I’m not going to suggest it to mine and have to read it again.