Immigrant Baggage: Scenes from a Translingual Life

Book Talk
Event Format
In person
S050, CGIS South,1730 Cambridge St

Maxim D. Srayer, Within (and Without) Languages: A Jewish Writer’s Translingual Adventures

In different ways, I’m rooted in three cultures—Russian, Jewish and American. Yet a writer’s life is about much more than one’s sense of roots. It’s about floating in spacetime, about the texture, scent and taste of words. And the life of an immigrant writer is always and inevitably a story of unburdening oneself of the past and a history of border crossing. The borders—or boundaries—include those of languages, cultures and countries, some of them invisible while others still guarded with silences or even barbed wire. And the attempts at border crossing sometimes delight or enchant the transgressor while also auguring disappointment, heartbreak or even real danger. Read more 

Please join us for an afternoon with acclaimed author and Boston College professor Maxim D. Shrayer as he reads from and discusses his new book, Immigrant Baggage. In this witty and wise literary memoir, Shrayer writes about traversing the borders and boundaries of the three cultures that have nourished him―Russian, Jewish, and American. The spirit of nonconformism and the power of laughter comes to the rescue of Shrayer’s autobiographical protagonist when he faces existential calamities and life’s misadventures.

“Maxim D. Shrayer is a precious object: a kind of living Rosetta Stone who embodies multiple literary cultures. Shrayer’s wry, witty, wise and nuanced writing weaves together strands of  Soviet, Russian, Jewish and American culture in moments of translingual epiphany.”  

   -Marcel Theroux, author of The Sorcerer of Pyongyang and Far North 

“Maxim D. Shrayer has the sharp humor of a Russian literary outsider, the longings of a Jewish émigré, and the artistic discipline to examine his experiences without sentiment or shtick. Nabokov would have read this book with pleasure.” 

  -David Samuels, literary editor of Tablet Magazine and author of Only Love Can Break Your Heart. 



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