A Backpack, A Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka

A Backpack, A Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka

A Memoir

eBook - 2014
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"[A] hilarious and heartbreaking story of a Jewish family's escape from oppression."—The New York TimesA 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.From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: 2014
Branch Call Number: Overdrive
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Reproduction: Electronic reproduction. New York : Anchor, 2014. Requires OverDrive Read (file size: N/A KB) or Adobe Digital Editions (file size: 2280 KB) or Kobo app or compatible Kobo device (file size: N/A KB) or Amazon Kindle (file size: N/A KB)
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc
ISBN: 9780385537780

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HCL_staff_reviews Apr 26, 2018

When Gorbachev introduced an era of perestroika to the Soviet Union in the 1980s, many Jews took this opportunity to emigrate. This book is an eye opening story about Lev, a 10 year old, and his family's emigration from the Soviet Union (Ukraine) to the U.S. in 1990. We learn about the subtle and not so subtle prejudice against Jewish families in the Soviet Union right up to and including the border crossing. Their journey includes an extended stay in Austria before arriving in Lafayette - I won't say which one. It was interesting to read about the idea of America from the viewpoint of those longing to live here, and the struggles and reality that they discover when they arrive. Also, it is about a man's struggle to find peace and thank those who helped in his journey to a new land. — Rondi S., Budget and Finance

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ownedbydoxies
Apr 08, 2015

Memoir by a man who, along with his family, escaped persecution in order to build a new life in freedom. Details his struggles to overcome childhood fears of being judged negatively because of his race, which led to him detesting his appearance and his background. He finds solace eventually, and even manages to start paying it back in terms of helping others. A good book.

ChristchurchLib Feb 08, 2015

"In this eye-opening and affecting debut, author Lev Golinkin recounts his Jewish family's desperate flight from Soviet Ukraine in the late 1980s, when he was only nine years old. He also explores what it was like growing up as a Jew in the Soviet Union (where religion was forbidden) and discusses his personal quest, years later, to retrace his family's journey from the Soviet Union through Austria and eventually to the United States, in order to thank the strangers who helped them -- and to come to terms with his past. This "hilarious and heartbreaking" (New York Times) memoir is one that readers won't soon forget." Armchair Travel February 2015 newsletter http://libraryaware.com/996/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/9a28f27c-6df0-41ff-84a5-d85efbd06862?postId=8194109a-8898-4cd7-9d57-1ae32a44163a

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