Nice Things

I’ve been so wrapped up in the whirlwind of book promotion, including a tour you can find out more about here.

And there is such a roller coaster quality to this particular moment — days when things seem to be going so well and the book is getting all the attention I’d always hoped for alternating with other days when I feel overwhelmed by how hard it is to try and launch a book out into the world.

There have certainly been plenty of nice moments, however, including this wonderful essay in Harper’s by David Bezmozgis, a writer for whom I have great respect (check out his much acclaimed book of short stories, Natasha; he also has a novel coming out this spring which touches on the refusenik experience).

I was also on NPR recently, talking with Guy Raz on “All Things Considered” for what is a very long time on radio. It was a really well produced piece, distilling the story and making it sound as exciting and significant as I know it is.

And last but not least, the New Yorker, which doesn’t review all that many books, offered a nice assessment as part of its “Briefly Noted” (in the Cartoon Issue, no less!). Since it’s behind a pay wall and is pretty short, I’ve copied it out here:

Soviet Jews, more or less forbidden to cultivate their cultural identity, were nonetheless punished for it, facing both casual and systematic discrimination. Most were denied exit visas, even if family members had made it to America or Israel. Beckerman, in this wide-ranging and often moving history, shows how Soviet Jews banded together in underground support groups, risking years in prison or labor camps, and how U.S. activists spread awareness of their plight until it became one of the central political issues of the Cold War. The book traces dozens of intersecting story lines, and shows how, after decades of mixed success, the movement played a critical role in the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Beckerman suggests that it belongs among the great civil-rights success stories of the twentieth century.

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