News & Press
DON’T LET MY BABY DO RODEO
- If you’re curious how the writing gets done, sometimes Glacier National Park and the bathroom paper-towel dispenser are involved. Boris introduces Electric Literature’s excerpt from Dina Nayeri’s “Refuge,” a novel as incisive as it is poignant about Iran, families genetic and inherited, immigration, and so much more.
- A certain Boriss Fišmens is on Latvia’s version of NPR.
- Rodeo, just out in paperback, is a “Paperback Row” selection in The New York Times Book Review.
- The New York Times has just named Rodeo one of the 100 best books of 2016.
- The Boston Globe asked me and several others to pick two books that explain Russia. At least a little.
- Boris talks with Martha Frankel of Woodstock’s Booktalk Radio (Episode 129).
- A rave for the newly-released paperback from Paperback Paris.
- An interview with Adam Vitcavage of Writer’s Bone.
- In advance of November 17th’s talk at the Kaplen JCC in Tenafly, a profile in The New Jersey Jewish Standard.
- They don’t make them like this any more: A smart, perceptive, hour-long (!) conversation about Rodeo on WNHH (New Haven)’s Book Talk, hosted by the great Cyd Oppenheimer. First a discussion of the book with Boris, then a round-table with two other readers.
- In October, 2016, Boris traveled to Estonia and Latvia on behalf of the U.S. State Department to discuss “A Replacement Life,” and the creative life (in America), with Russian-speaking minorities in the capitals and near the border with Russia. Some of the press highlights.
- Just in time for Boris’ move there, Brooklyn has issued a warm welcome: Rodeo is on the longlist — now the shortlist! — for the Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize!
- A wonderfully in-depth and far-ranging interview with Mike Matesich of the Oxford Exchange in Tampa, where Boris is reading on Sunday, October 2. (See Readings.).
- In advance of a reading at NYU, a great talk with Rachel A. G. Gilman of “The Write Stuff” on WNYU.
- A lovely interview with Boris’ British editor. Foyles Bookstore in London was kind enough to reprint.
- Who doesn’t like his novel being called stunning?
- Rodeo is a Spring Reading Pick at the Times of Israel.
- Rodeo is an Editors’ Choice selection in The New York Times Book Review.
- Huge rave from Cathleen Schine in The New York Times Book Review, which calls Boris a “tender, dolorous, sharp and funny writer” and “a joy to read.”
- The Christian Science Monitor with words of praise for “Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo.”
- BookPage, which chose Rodeo as its Book of the Day, and called it a novel of “unexpected force” (see below), asked Boris to talk about what he’s reading. Here’s the best book he read last year.
- An exceedingly intelligent and well-written profile of, and engagement with the ideas behind, Rodeo in the Forward by Talya Zax. Too rare such criticism these days.
- Rodeo is one of 18 Dazzling Books for Spring on the Oprah web site.
- A profile in the New Jersey Jewish News.
- What’s the literary equivalent of a no-hitter? Rodeo is racking up raves on every stop of its March tour of book blogs.
- Write-ups in English Kills Review and the New York Journal of Books.
A return to WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show for another great, meaty conversation.
The Cyrus Webb Show (Mississippi).
In advance of the March 15 reading at the Free Library of Philadelphia with Howard Jacobson, The Avid Reader (Philadelphia).
Another lovely talk with Deborah Kalb.
- The Boston Jewish Advocate says: “This is a novel that will stay with you for a very long time and not just because of the plot. Fishman’s prose is gorgeous, the characters are well developed and the plot is totally amazing.”
- A starred review in Shelf Awareness: “With graceful control and assurance, Fishman turns Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo into a layered story of identity and the challenges of weaving our many differences into compassionate bonds. So many things can drive a family apart; it’s a wonder that Alex, Maya and Max (or any of us) can hold it together. Immigration and adoption are not for wimps. Writing well about them is a true art. Fishman is very much up to the task–heartbreak, headaches, happiness and all.”
- NPR with a rave for Rodeo!
- While a novel without a thoughtful reviewer, positive or negative, is not quite like the falling tree in the woods without someone to hear it, criticism is an art, and an art that begs for more than plot summary. It’s so gratifying to come across that kind of engagement with your work. And then if it’s positive, too…
San Francisco Chronicle: “[Fishman’s] second novel is a fresh, unpredictable departure from his first. Max may or may not do rodeo, but from now on expect Boris Fishman to do anything.”
Chicago Tribune: “An eloquent and uncynical tale of how far people must travel to find out what they truly want and who they truly are.”
- O, the Oprah Magazine gives Rodeo a thumbs-up in the March issue!
- A profile of the novel in the Princeton Alumni Weekly.
- BookPage offers a perceptive review of a “perceptive” novel: “Fishman patiently uncovers the tensions embedded in the Rubins’ relationship that intensify Maya’s restlessness. Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo… is a ruminative story about the often fragile bonds of family. Even the most comfortable parents and children may someday confront a crisis as unsettling as the one that afflicts the Rubins, a truth that allows this novel to resonate with unexpected force.”
- Rodeo is among the “Winter Reads Authors Are Loving” on BookSparks.
- Publishers Weekly has a rave for Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo: “The novel, which seems at first like a road trip story, transforms into a sensitive and surprisingly adventurous exploration of one woman’s wonder and suffering.”
- Kirkus Reviews doesn’t love everything about Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo, which makes the “plot twist that gives the closing chapters their gravitas… feel almost like a magic trick.” The verdict: “Fishman smartly observes that the assimilation novel and road-trip novel make good partners. Both, after all, are about finding freedom. A comic novel about parenting infused with emotional intelligence.”
- Boris’ Holiday Reading recommendations in the Princeton Alumni Weekly.
- A conversation with Elizabeth Stark and Angie Powers of the Story Makers podcast, aka the Stark & Powers Drama Hour.
- Off the Shelf selects A Replacement Life as one of its “15 Remarkable Stories to Celebrate Jewish Book Month.”
- A lecture about plot for the University of Iowa’s Distance Learning Program.
- Publishers Marketplace has chosen Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo as a 2015-16 Fall/Winter BuzzBook; free sample here.
A REPLACEMENT LIFE
- A trio of summer reading recommendations, two old and one new, for Conde Nast Traveler.
- Boris in conversation with Gal Beckerman (“When They Come For Us, We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry”) and Yelena Akhtiorskaya (“Panic in a Suitcase”) at The Jewish Museum on May 19, 2015, moderated by Bari Weiss (The Wall Street Journal).
- A Replacement Life is one of three finalists, out of more than 150 books, for the Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award.
- A profile of the Russian-Jewish literary wave, including yours truly, at the Calvert Journal.
- A really great interview with Rebecca Rafferty of the Rochester (NY) City News.
- Boris was on The Diane Rehm Show with Maureen Corrigan and Leslie Maitland to talk about Anthony Doerr’s novel “All the Light We Cannot See.”
- A nice, long conversation with Evan Dawson of Connections on WXXI, Rochester (NY)’s NPR affiliate, in advance of Boris’s visit for Writers & Books’ Debut Novel Series April 9-11.
- A profile in the New Jersey Jewish News.
- A profile in Chicago’s JUF News.
- In advance of a reading at Milwaukee’s Boswell Book Company, a heads-up in Express Milwaukee, which goes so far as to call Boris a “young novelist.”
- A profile and a review in the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette.
- In advance of a reading at Iowa City’s Prairie Lights, an interview with Little Village, Iowa City’s arts mag.
- Can you read Yiddish? If so, I’d love to know what this says. According to Twitter, “Mikhail Krutikov explains why @boris_y_fishman’s A Replacement Life is a high point in American-Jewish fiction.”
- A wonderfully in-depth talk with Kerri Miller of Minnesota Public Radio.
- A Replacement Life wins the 2015 Sophie Brody Medal for Achievement in Jewish Literature from the American Library Association.
- On the Soviet Union as a pioneer in local-and-organic (and GMO labeling); the role of food in the novel; and the world’s best borshch recipe.
- A Q+A with the Jewish Journal of the North Shore (Mass.)
- A review in the American Jewish World of Minneapolis.
- The novel has been named a finalist for the $100,000 Sami Rohr Prize.
- On the eve of a pair of readings, a profile in the Orlando Sentinel.
- To mark the paperback release, NPR re-aired its interview with Boris from last summer, and fresh talks with LA’s BookRadio and Orlando’s Functionally Literate Radio.
- A most gratifying capstone to a most gratifying year: A Replacement Life is one of The New York Times‘ 100 Notable Books of 2014.
- The San Francisco Chronicle also lists A Replacement Life among its 100 Best of 2014.
- By turns dark and funny, a conversation with Lev Golinkin, author of “A Backpack, A Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka,” at The Barnes & Noble Review.
- Shakespeare and Co. chooses A Replacement Life as one of its three (!) Staff Picks of the Year!
- A Replacement Life is one of Buzzfeed’s 20-Under-40 Debut Writers You Need To Be Reading.
- Electric Literature names A Replacement Life one of the year’s best debuts.
- So does Books on the Table.
- A Replacement Life is one of the highlights in the year’s Jewish reading over at the New Jersey Jewish News.
- An incredibly rewarding note about the novel on Emily Homonoff’s blog The Happening. “After I read A REPLACEMENT LIFE, I was high off of it, telling everyone I knew who I deemed to have good taste that it was a must… You know, the type [of book] that expresses nearly everything you’ve ever thought?… Each grammatical placement, each word choice, was so carefully situated… A REPLACEMENT LIFE is a novel for someone who appreciates the craft of writing, the texture and love of it. There are too many half-written and half-edited novels that are being churned out so constantly these days… So, to find one that sets itself apart, both stylistically and thematically, is a real treasure. Very rarely is there a symbiotic relationship between plot and prose that results in the reader getting exactly what they want. But that is what you have with A REPLACEMENT LIFE.”
- These days, the space to truly sink your teeth into a conversation, not to mention an interviewer who treats his metier as an art form and an intellectual opportunity, is a real rarity. After many — many — months in the oven, here’s one of the most interesting conversations I’ve had — about “A Replacement Life,” but also many things beyond — for The Rumpus.
- A Replacement Life is part of the the Fall Literary Preview at The Jewish Week.
- A generous review from Hadassah Magazine, and an affiliated Q+A.
- A Replacement Life is part of the discussion about recent Soviet-emigre literature at Public Books.
- A profile in the rag that started it all, the Wayne (NJ) Hills High School Patriot Press!
- A profile in J. Weekly, the Jewish newsweekly of Northern California, on the eve of a series of readings in the Bay Area.
- An interview on Aspen Public Radio’s First Draft with Mitzi Rapkin.
- A rave from the American Spectator!
- An interview on surviving the writer’s life at Writer’s Relief.
- On NPR’s All Things Considered, Alan Cheuse says: “How to live in this new world with old world emotions – how to tell lies and stay honest – these are among some of the truths Slava wrestles with. And in the way the he presents these to us with feeling, humor and eyes wide open, novelist Fishman doesn’t miss a beat.”
- Vogue calls A Replacement Life a “delightfully mordant” and “inventive debut.”
- Words of great praise from Newsweek, which says that A Replacement Life is “both tender and powerful… Fishman never loses the reader’s trust. No line in this book rings false, no character is unheard, no event seems like a plot device.”
- The New Yorker calls A Replacement Life an “ingenious debut.”
- Charleston City Paper says: “It feels odd to say that a story about Slavic survivors of the Holocaust and pogroms and ghettos can be at times light-hearted, even warm and funny. But the way that Fishman delves into family… keeps the story from being too heavy… It’s honest and realistic while providing quiet humor to a sad moment. As Fishman invites us into a family we want to be part of, he makes us want to turn the pages faster than we can.”
- A rave for A Replacement Life from The Jerusalem Post.
- An interview with Boris, a former New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, on the NYFA website.
- A Replacement Life spent June touring a series of book blogs. A selection of what they had to say (PDF).
- Listen to Boris discuss A Replacement Life on the Books du Jour roundtable, hosted by Frederic Colier.
- “You should write a book about…” Great piece on the plot ideas that start filling your inbox after you’ve published a book, including a trio (love triangles, bar mitzvah crimes, and e-softcore) given to Boris. (See #5, 7, 9).
- Profile of Boris in Russia Beyond the Headlines.
- Some love for A Replacement Life from ArtsFuse in Boston!
- Some more from BookBrowse!
- An interview with Deborah Kalb on her literary blog.
- A cover review, and a rave, for A Replacement Life in the Neworld Review!
- Hear Boris read from A Replacement Life on The Author’s Corner on Public Radio.
- Thumbs up for A Replacement Life from The San Francisco Chronicle.
- The man with the greatest voice in radio, Bob Edwards, interviews Boris on The Bob Edwards Show on SiriusXM.
- Over at NBC, Bill Goldstein says that A Replacement Life is “brilliantly conceived and just a delight even though it touches on all these harsh subjects.” It’s one of his four recommended Lazy Summer Day Reads!
- A Replacement Life is a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice!
- A Replacement Life is on the cover of The New York Times Book Review! “Is there room in American fiction for another brilliant young émigré writer? There had better be, because here he is. Boris Fishman’s first novel, “A Replacement Life,” is bold, ambitious and wickedly smart… The only problem with this novel is that its covers are too close together. I wanted more of Slava, his bumpy love life, his venal grandfather, even Herr Barber. Undoubtedly, comparisons will be made — to Bellow and the Roths (Henry and Philip), as well as to Gary Shteyngart, who also came from the Soviet Union as a child. But in reading “A Replacement Life,” I thought most often of Bernard Malamud. Like the hero of “The Fixer,” Slava Gelman is an honorable man who finds that one broken rule, one risky move, changes his life irrevocably. In the end this man, “blameless and true,” is left asking, How was I led to this?”
- The New York Times gives A Replacement Life an unqualified rave: “Mordantly funny and moving first novel… Mr. Fishman brilliantly captures the cadence and spirit of speech wherever it occurs… This impressive debut is immigrant literature to its bendy bones… And like much good immigrant fiction, Slava’s predicament stretches out to the rest of us — to anyone who has come to New York, or wherever ambitions lie, and found herself thrown back on her uncouth origins, reliving the past for those who had half hoped she would leave them behind and half known she wouldn’t dare.”
- Listen to Boris talk about the novel on NPR’s Here & Now.
- A Replacement Life is Novel of the Week at The Week!
- Listen to Boris talk about the novel on Leonard Lopate.
- A Replacement Life is a Publishers Weekly “Anticipated Debut.”
- A Replacement Life is one of MSN’s 10 Best Beach Reads for June.
- Boris is on the world’s greatest literary podcast!
- Kind words for the novel from the Jewish Weekly of Northern California.
- Boris is profiled in the first and last word on all things Lower East Side, The Lo-Down.
- The Minneapolis StarTribune loves A Replacement Life!
Debut novel A Replacement Life, by Boris Fishman (once my fact-checker!) welcomed: http://t.co/OgyXaCwHSk
— Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) June 3, 2014
- A Replacement Life is a Summer 2014 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick! B&N’s interview with Boris here.
- Tablet Magazine features a podcast with Boris and a review of the novel.
- The Wall Street Journal says A Replacement Life is “smart and sardonic… sly and subversive… ingeniously irreverent.”
- The Chicago Tribune calls A Replacement Life “astonishingly brilliant.”
- The Los Angeles Times chooses A Replacement Life for its Best Summer Books.
- The alma mater approves of a A Replacement Life.
Tender/corrosive humor of Boris Fishman's (first) novel "A Replacement Life" & an audacity which Bernard Malamud would have admired.
— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) May 24, 2014
- An interview with Michael Orbach of Jewcy.
- A conversation with Francesca Rheannon of the Writer’s Voice podcast.
- A profile of Boris by Susan Rienzo at the (Phoenix) Examiner.
- A profile of Boris by Sandee Brawarsky of The Jewish Week.
- The Oregonian loves A Replacement Life.
- An interview with Boris over at The Jewish Channel.
- Open Letters Monthly calls A Replacement Life a “scintillating debut.”
- Shelf Awareness has very nice things to say about A Replacement Life.
- A very lovely chat with Audrey Camp and Lacy Mayberry of the Postmasters podcast.
- “An ambitious young writer compromises his integrity for the sake of his Russian forebears in Fishman’s darkly comic, world-wise debut… Fishman thoughtfully raises questions of what Holocaust-era suffering is deserving of recompense. A smart first novel that’s unafraid to find humor in atrocity.” Read Kirkus Reviews on A Replacement Life here (PDF).
- Boris is one of the “inventive new voices” mentioned in an April 25, 2014 New York Times profile of hyphenated novelists.
- “Fishman has talent galore, and an attractive love interest, funny set-pieces,
a brochure-beautiful Big Apple, and spectacular, acutely self-conscious prose
are all most enjoyable.” Read Booklist’s review of A Replacement Life here (PDF).
- Join Boris on May 1 at The Center for Fiction for a celebration of the great Bernard Malamud, who would have turned 100 this year. Event details and RSVP here; an essay about Malamud by Boris here.
- Boris is one of five novelists interviewed in Salon by Teddy Wayne, who will also be in conversation with Boris June 18 at BookCourt.
- A Replacement Life has been chosen for inclusion in Festival America, the French literary festival that celebrates Francophone work by American writers. September 11-14, 2014. A Replacement Life comes out in France (and the UK!) this fall! Followed by the Netherlands, Brazil, Israel, and Italy.
- The cover of A Replacement Life was chosen by Interfolio – yes, that place that mails out your recommendation letters – from hundreds of submissions for inclusion in its Scholar Gallery in Washington, DC.
- “Fishman, an émigré from Belarus, captures the complexities of family, nationality, and history as he cleverly ties the loose ends of truth, justice, morality, and family into a tidy bow in his first novel.” Read Library Journal’s review of A Replacement Life (subscription required). Or read it here (PDF).
- Read Publishers Weekly’s Q&A with Boris (subscription required). Or read it here (PDF).
- “The debut novel from Fishman shines with a love for language and craft.” Starred Publishers Weekly review for A Replacement Life!
- The Forward says A Replacement Life is one of 5 Books to Read in 2014.
Thinking while reading a new, first novel by Boris Fishman, A REPLACEMENT LIFE, how Bernard Malamud would love this! Tender, funny…
— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) July 4, 2013