Autumn in Yalta (Hardcover)
A Novel and Three Stories (Library of Modern Jewish Literature)
Syracuse University Press, 9780815608202, 235pp.
Publication Date: April 19, 2006
The powerful voice of David Shrayer-Petrov's immigrant fiction blends Russian, Jewish, and American traditions. Collecting an autobiographical novel and three short stories, Autumn in Yalta brings together the achievements of the great Russian masters Chekhov and Nabokov and the magisterial Jewish and American storytellers Bashevis Singer and Malamud. Shrayer-Petrov's fiction examines the forces and contradictions of love through different ethnic, religious, and social lenses. Set in Stalinist Russia, the novel Strange Danya Rayev revolves around the wartime experiences of a Jewish Russian boy evacuated from his besieged native Leningrad to a remote village in the Ural Mountains. In the title story Autumn in Yalta, the idealistic protagonist, Dr. Samoylovich, is sent to a Siberian prison camp because of his ill-fated love for Polechka, a tuberculosis patient. In The Love of Akira Watanabe once again unrequited love is the focus of the central character, a displaced Japanese professor at a New England university. Carp for the Gefilte Fish, a tale of a childless couple from Belarus and their American employers. In the tradition of other physician-writers, such as Anton Chekhov and William Carlos Williams, Shrayer-Petrov's prose is marked by analytical exactitude and passionate humanism. Love and memory, dual identity, and the experience of exile are the chief components.