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History Thieves Cover Image

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Hardcover, Published in Feb 2011 by Seagull Books

ISBN10: 1906497788 | ISBN13: 9781906497781

Page count: 112

Coming from a thoroughly secular Soviet background, the Russian-British novelist Zinovy Zinik became aware for the first time of his “Jewishness” when he emigrated to Israel in the 1970s. In this stylistically innovative autobiographical taleZinik describes how an unheimliche experience in Berlin—of seeing for real the house he dreamed about many years before in London–led him to investigate the chequered and enigmatic past of his Russian-born grandfather, who, while ostensibly practicing as a doctor in Lithuania, was building the Soviet empire from which Zinik tried to escape 50 years later.

In the manner of the classic detective story, Zinik’s meditation on “assumed identity” and “plagiarized past” culminates in the notion of recognition as a redeeming factor, suggesting that it is not only central to the twentieth-century Jewish experience or even the wider world of émigrés, exiles and migrants of all kinds, but to the human condition itself.

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