A failing young Russian American journalist’s life is unexpectedly transformed when he forges Holocaust restitution claims for his rogue grandfather and his friends
Young Russian immigrant Slava Gelman wants to be a great American writer, but is only a researcher at a New Yorker-style magazine. When his beloved grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, dies, his grandfather corners him with a request: could he forge a few Holocaust restitution claims? Slava resists at first, but eventually his semi-fictional accounts turn out to be the best writing he has ever done. Although he lives in fear of discovery and continues to stumble from one tragicomic incident to another, by the time Slava is finally confronted by a German government employee he is ready to play a role that is – almost – heroic.
Boris Fishman was born in Minsk, Belarus, in 1979 and immigrated to the United States at the age of nine. He is the editor of Wild East: Stories from the Last Frontier, and his work has appeared in the New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, New Republic, Wall Street Journal, London Review of Books, New York Times Book Review and other publications. He lives in New York City. A Replacement Life is his first novel.