A very different novel is this. Extremely well researched, a flight of fancy, original in form and content. It chronicles the history of Soviet Russia from World War I to the death of Stalin in three acts starring an odd collection of characters ranging from an elderly Yiddish actor to a Yiddish surgeon and a Black Yiddish-speaking American engineer. The novel takes place in a week following a late night attempt to arrest the actor, who turns the tables on the three security personnel by killing them. This was at a time when Stalin was planning a “final solution” to the Jewish “problem,” planning to collect the minority population, pack them in cattle cars and ship them out of the Soviet Union. It was also the period during which the so-called “doctor’s plot” was in the news: a group of Jewish doctors were arrested and accused of plotting the murder of Soviet officials.
The actor, Solomon Levinson, is soon joined by the surgeon, engineer and others, and conceives a plot to prevent Stalin’s massive pogrom by assassinating him, cutting off the head of the serpent. In the intervening days the group debates, remembers the past, trades banter on a variety of subjects, from Shakespeare and Pushkin to anti-Semitism and racism and the broken promises of Socialism. The novel is strewn with Yiddish phrases and poetry (conveniently translated).
For a debut novel, The Yid is most original, a flight of fancy based on reality, filled with excellent dialogue and innovative characters. It has to be read to be appreciated, and it is hoped this suggestion is well taken. Highly recommended....Continua