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The Yid    by Paul Goldberg order for
by Paul Goldberg
Order:  USA  Can
Picador, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Paul Goldberg has written a stirring novel about an assassination attempt against Stalin in 1953. It is a zany tragicomedy with lots of laughs, as well as very serious notes.

A wildly mismatched but amiable group of people, several of whom are Jews, has decided to undo Stalin's plans for a massive pogrom. Their leader is an ex-combatant turned actor, who may or may not live in reality, he enjoys acting so much. Among his followers is a surgeon and a black American who came to the USSR on assignment and stayed. Marc Chagall and Paul Robeson have bit parts, along with the Soviet Jewish actor, Solomon Mikhoels.

It helps if you have at least a passing understanding of Russian and Jewish culture as well as Russian-Jewish culture. Thankfully, the Russian, Yiddish and Hebrew passages are all translated, though I am sure it would be best to understand them in the original. A tolerance for irreverence is also helpful. And if you love the theatre, you will find much to ponder here, and much to laugh out loud at. The Yid, written in a unique and unforgettable voice, is truly 'a rollicking reading experience.'

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