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A backpack, a bear, and eight crates of vodka : a memoir

Author: Lev Golinkin
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 2014.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Recounts the author's experiences as a young boy fleeing persecution in the late eighties Soviet Union, and his later return to Austria and Eastern Europe as an American adult to track down those who helped his family escape and thank them.
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Genre/Form: Biography
Biographies
Memoirs
Named Person: Lev Golinkin; Lev Golinkin
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Lev Golinkin
ISBN: 9780385537773 0385537778 9780345806338 0345806336
OCLC Number: 870663497
Description: ix, 307 pages ; 22 cm
Contents: Part one. The best parades in the whole damn world ; The Black Witch comes to Kharkov ; Oleg and the mirror ; Disarming the adversaries ; A marked Mikhail will destroy Russia ; Something was different; something was in the air ; Land of endless twilight ; $130, two suitcases, one piece of jewelry, nothing of value ; Into the steppe --
Part two. Dozens of sentinel grandmas ; Where people have no names ; The forester ; Waking the nomads ; Pennies and peach slices ; A layover in purgatory ; Eva ; A bleak, man-made horizon ; Nineteen million in the hole ; The Bosnians don't come out at night ; A simple request --
Part three. This ain't Ellis Island ; Refugee sponsorship for dummies ; Where else does she belong? ; Unfinished business, part I: getting to America ; Where the weak are killed and eaten ; There are no cats in America ; Where am I and why do I smell like bananas? ; Unfinished business, part II: staying in America ; Alicia ; One man, one jacket ; Kilcoyne.
Responsibility: Lev Golinkin.

Abstract:

Recounts the author's experiences as a young boy fleeing persecution in the late eighties Soviet Union, and his later return to Austria and Eastern Europe as an American adult to track down those who helped his family escape and thank them.

"A compelling story of two intertwined journeys: a Jewish refugee family fleeing persecution and a young man seeking to reclaim a shattered past. In the twilight of the Cold War (the late 1980s), nine-year old Lev Golinkin and his family cross the Soviet border with only ten suitcases, $600, and the vague promise of help awaiting in Vienna. Years later, Lev, now an American adult, sets out to retrace his family’s long trek, locate the strangers who fought for his freedom, and in the process, gain a future by understanding his past. Lev Golinkin's memoir is the vivid, darkly comic, and poignant story of a young boy in the confusing and often chilling final decade of the Soviet Union. It's also the story of Lev Golinkin, the American man who finally confronts his buried past by returning to Austria and Eastern Europe to track down the strangers who made his escape possible . . . and say thank you. Written with biting, acerbic wit and emotional honesty in the vein of Gary Shteyngart, Jonathan Safran Foer, and David Bezmozgis, Golinkin's search for personal identity set against the relentless currents of history is more than a memoir--it's a portrait of a lost era. This is a thrilling tale of escape and survival, a deeply personal look at the life of a Jewish child caught in the last gasp of the Soviet Union, and a provocative investigation into the power of hatred and the search for belonging. Lev Golinkin achieves an amazing feat--and it marks the debut of a fiercely intelligent, defiant, and unforgettable new voice." -- Publisher's description

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