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Description - Waiting for America by Maxim D. Shrayer

In 1987, a young Jewish man, the central figure in this captivating book, leaves Moscow for good with his parents. They celebrate their freedom in opulent Vienna and spend two months in Rome and the coastal resort of Ladispoli. While waiting in Europe for a U.S. refugee visa, the book's twenty-year-old poet quenches his thirst for sexual and cultural discovery. Through his colorful Austrian and Italian misadventures, he experiences the shock, thrill, and anonymity of being in a Western democracy, running into European roadblocks while shedding Soviet social taboos. As he anticipates entering a new life in America, he movingly describes the baggage that exiles bring with them, from the inescapable family ties to the sweet cargo of memory. An emigration story, "Waiting for America" explores the rapid expansion of identity at the cusp of a new, American life. Told in a revelatory first-person narrative, "Waiting for America" is also a vibrant love story, in which the romantic protagonist is torn between Russian and Western women. Filled with poignant humor and reinforced by hope and idealism, the author's confessional voice carries the reader in the same way one is carried through literary memoirs like Tolstoy's "Childhood", "Boyhood", "Youth", Hemingway's "Moveable Feast", or Nabokov's "Speak", "Memory". Babel, Sebald, and Singer - all transcultural masters of identity writing - are the coordinates that help to locate Waiting for America on the greater map of literature.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780815608936
ISBN-10: 0815608934
Format: Hardback
(229mm x 152mm x mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: Syracuse University Press
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
Publish Date: 1-Nov-2007
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Maxim D. Shrayer

Maxim D. Shrayer's books include The World of Nabokov's Stories, Russian Poet/Soviet Jew, and three collections of Russian poetry. A bilingual author and translator, Shrayer recently edited An Anthology of Jewish-Russian Literature. Shrayer is professor of Russian and English and chair of the Department of Slavic and Eastern Languages at Boston College. He lives in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, with his wife and daughter.

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