A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka: A Memoir

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"[A] hilarious and heartbreaking story of a Jewish family’s escape from oppression."--The New York Times

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.


From the Hardcover edition.
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About the author

Lev Golinkin is the author of A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka.  Mr. Golinkin, a graduate of Boston College, came to the US as a child refugee from the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov (now called Kharkiv) in 1990.  His op-eds and essays on the Ukraine crisis have appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and Time.com, among others; he has been interviewed by WSJ Live and HuffPost Live.


From the Hardcover edition.
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4.6
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Additional Information

Publisher
Anchor
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Published on
Nov 4, 2014
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780385537780
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
History / Jewish
History / Russia & the Former Soviet Union
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY MICHIKO KAKUTANI, THE NEW YORK TIMES • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY TIME
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY MORE THAN 45 PUBLICATIONS, INCLUDING
The New York Times Book Review • The Washington Post • NPR • The New Yorker • San Francisco Chronicle • The Economist • The Atlantic • Newsday • Salon • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • The Guardian • Esquire (UK) • GQ (UK)

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Praise for Little Failure

“Hilarious and moving . . . The army of readers who love Gary Shteyngart is about to get bigger.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
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