Saturday, March 16, 2013

First Chapter Review: Russian Jews Don't Cry by Uri Norwich

Russian Jews Don't Cry is realistic fiction from Uri Norwich, who used his own experiences to create a narrative fiction piece.

BLURB:  Border patrol officer stamped my Exit Visa with a big blue stamp: "Released!" Indeed, I was released from the most Evil Empire. I was released from the slavery. I was released into the free World, stateless, penniless but free — the sweetest release of them all! I didn’t care at that moment about tomorrow. I didn’t care that I only had eighty dollars to my name, some clothes on my back, and couple of suitcases. One thing I knew for sure I would never be a slave again.

If reality can turn into bizarre fantasy, and the fantasy can morph back into reality, then a twilight transition may exist somewhere on the way. This is where reside rare and virtually unknown slices of life of the Soviet Union, Israel, Italy, and the last wave of the Soviet immigration, seen through the prism of one young man's imagination. Displaced from the far reaches of Siberia, forced to roll through continents and countries, and suspended in time and space, a man's quest for emerging from that twilight never stopped. This book will unveil many colors and smells of places in the worlds sometimes laying in plain view, but go unnoticed. The characters depicted may seem fictional at times, but their surroundings are quite real. Some may even try tracing the steps laid out in the book. It is all out there still... Author lives in a New York City suburb, still enjoying every moment of novelty being a free man, even after so many years.

COVER: This cover captures many elements of the book. It's a bit busy, but still appeals to the eye.

FIRST CHAPTER: This highly narrative first chapter, opens with the unnamed main character on a long flight from Beijing back to New York. The rest that follows is the backstory of release jis from the Soviet Union on an Exit Visa.

KEEP READING: Hard to say. There is a great deal of potential in Russian Jews Don't Cry. By molding his experiences into a fictional story, Norwich provides a fabulous perspective on life in the Soviet Union while the Cold War was still raging. Historical photographs add a nice touch to the narrative, helping the reader visualize unfamiliar objects and places. In depth descriptions complement the photos, creating a vivid picture for the reader.

Part of me wonders why the author didn't opt to tell his story as a memoir. A story of his personal experiences as a Russian Jew relocating to New York and trying to find his place in a free society could be appealing to many--myself included. As realistic fiction, the reader is left to wonder how much of the narrative is true and how much is fictionalized. That's not the reason I am on the fence about whether to continue reading, though. When English isn't your native language, it's important to hire an editor to pick up grammatical errors. That does not appear to be done here. Missing words and words used incorrectly plague the prologue and first chapter. It makes for a jarring read. The excessive use of the verb "to be" creates a passive narrative, which doesn't do the story justice.

I must state again that I see tremendous potential for this man's story. The help of a good editor should turn this into a powerful story.

File Size: 1685 KB
Print Length: 688 pages
Publisher: Uri Norwich; 2 edition (January 8, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

I received the first chapter of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

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