Yom Kippur in Amsterdam (Hardcover)

By Maxim D. Shrayer

Syracuse University Press, 9780815609186, 141pp.

Publication Date: September 8, 2009



Whether set in Maxim Shrayer's native Russia or in North America and
Western Europe, the eight stories in this collection explore emotionally
intricate relationships that cross traditional boundaries of ethnicity, religion,
and culture. Tracing the lives, obsessions, and aspirations of Jewish-Russian
immigrants, these poignant, humorous, and tender stories create an
expansive portrait of individuals struggling to come to terms with ghosts of
their European pasts while simultaneously seeking to build new lives in their
American present.
The title story follows Jake Glaz, a young Jewish man apprehensive
about intermarriage to a Catholic woman. After realizing Erin will not convert,
Jake leaves the United States to spend Yom Kippur in Amsterdam, "a
beautiful place for a Jew to atone." In "Sonetchka," a literary scholar and
his former Moscow girlfriend reunite in her suburban Connecticut apartment.
As they reminisce about their Soviet youth and quietly admire each
other's professional successes, both wrestle with the curious mix of prosperity,
loneliness, and insecurity that defines their lives in the United States.
Yom Kippur in Amsterdam takes the immigrant narrative into the twentyfirst
century. Emerging from the tradition of Isaac Babel, Vladimir Nabokov,
and Isaac Bachevis Singer, Shrayer's vibrant literary voice significantly
contributes to the evolution of Jewish writing in America.

About the Author

Maxim D. Shrayer is professor of Russian, English, and Jewish Studies at Boston College. Among his books are The World of Nabokov s Stories and Russian Poet/Soviet Jew and the literary memoir Waiting for America: A Story of Emigration (Syracuse University Press). A bilingual author and translator, Shrayer won the National Jewish Book Award for the two-volume Anthology of Jewish-Russian Literature."