By – December 10, 2015

Paul Goldberg’s debut nov­el takes place over sev­er­al long Russ­ian win­ter days span­ning Feb­ru­ary 24 to March 5, 1953, set against the frigid milieu of Joseph Stalin’s Final Solu­tion” plans to purge all the Jews from Russia.

Three gov­ern­ment agents start their night­ly rou­tine of arrests in Moscow. They knock on the door of Solomon Shi­monovich Levin­son, a mar­gin­al Yid­dish actor from a closed Yid­dish State The­ater com­pa­ny, unex­pect­ed­ly set­ting off a Kafkaesque path of no return to the bleak coun­try­side accom­pa­nied by a bizarre cast of friends and acquaintances.

The ret­inue includes Fred­erich Lewis, a black Amer­i­can who left life under racist oppres­sion in Nebras­ka to work in the remote Com­mu­nist steel mills of the USSR; Alek­san­dr Kogan, a dis­il­lu­sioned sur­geon who served as a machine gun­ner from Levinson’s old Red Army unit, now threat­ened by wild anti­se­mit­ic rumors cir­cu­lat­ing about a Jew­ish doc­tors’ plot” of killing high-rank­ing Sovi­et offi­cers and offi­cials with poi­son-laced syringes; and Kima Petro­va, a beau­ti­ful girl with noth­ing but revenge on her mind. Togeth­er they devise a sim­ple plan: kill the mad King Stal­in before his Final Solu­tion” oper­a­tion is realized.

Filled with large lit­er­ary dos­es of Shake­speare, Gogol, and Sopho­cles, Goldberg’s his­tor­i­cal nov­el boasts flash­es of bril­liance, includ­ing a Passover play based on the idea that God did not stop Abraham’s hand, and human sac­ri­fice flour­ished,” staged at Stalin’s pri­vate dacha. The Yid is a well-writ­ten, dark­ly comedic nov­el of his­tor­i­cal fic­tion, with mem­o­rable char­ac­ters and a delec­table touch of the absurd.

Gary Katz received an MA in Eng­lish from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Nebras­ka-Oma­ha. He is the library admin­is­tra­tor for the Krip­ke Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion Library in Oma­ha, Nebras­ka, one of the largest Judaica libraries in the Unit­ed States.