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The Yid

Picador (2017)

Art Director: Henry Sene Yee
Illustrator: David Curtis Studio

"an antic masterpiece"
- Cathleen Schine, The New York Review of Books

"Audacious… [A] dazzling tragicomic debut"
- Jane Ciabattari,

MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 1953. A week before Stalin's death, his final pogrom is in full swing. Three government goons arrive in the middle of the night to arrest Solomon Shimonovich Levinson, an actor from the defunct State Jewish Theater. But Levinson, now an old man, is a veteran of past wars, and his shocking response to the intruders sets in motion a series of events both zany and deadly as he proceeds to assemble a ragtag group to help him enact a mad-brilliant plot: the assassination of a tyrant.

Levinson's cast of unlikely heroes includes Aleksandr Kogan, a machine gunner in Levinson's Red Army band who has since become one of Moscow's premier surgeons; Frederich Lewis, an African American who came to the USSR to build smelters and stayed to work as an engineers; and Kima Petrova, an enigmatic young woman with a score to settle. And wandering through the narrative like a crazy Soviet Ragtime are such historical figures as Paul Robeson, Solomon Mikhoels, and Marc Chagall.As hilarious as it is moving, as intellectual as it is violent—with echoes of Inglourious Basterds and Seven Samurai--The Yid is a tragicomic masterpiece of historical fiction.

  • Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature - Finalist

  • National Jewish Book Award, Goldberg Prize for Fiction - Finalist

Press for The Yid

-Publishers Weekly

“[A] singular debut novel.... An ambitious historical fantasy.... Evoking the clash of tone and subject found in movies like The Producers and The Great Dictator, The Yid is a screwball farce about atrocity.”
- Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air

“Mr. Goldberg has written a book that revolves about Stalin’s final blow against the country’s remaining Jews…. Mr. Goldberg comes up with a team of Yiddish-speaking jokester-superheroes who are at the heart of his story, and who make it their mission to avenge countless acts of anti-Semitism, both real and anticipated…. The Yid is about Stalin’s worst enemy as well as his favorite prey.”
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“No act of violence, no sacred subject, no reference high or low escapes Goldberg’s manic, discursive delight in this novel of an old Jewish stage actor and the unlikely troupe he assembles to assassinate Joseph Stalin.”
—O, The Oprah Magazine

“Most fiction and nonfiction accounts of Stalin-era arrests go like this: The secret police come in the night and take the accused away in a Black Maria, to never be seen again. The neighbors sit by quietly, pretending not to have heard a thing. Mr. Goldberg amends this with a very American sensibility, replacing fear and submission with Tarantino-esque swagger.”
—Anya Ulinich, The Wall Street Journal

The New York Review of Books: Comic Noir

The Wall Street Journal: Getting Even With Stalin

The Kojo Nnamdi Show: Writer Paul Goldberg on "The Yid"

The New York Times: "The Yid" by Paul Goldberg

Jewish Book Council: The Prosen People

The New York Times Close Up: NY1 - The New York Times Close Up

WNYC - The Leonard Lopate Show: Yiddish Theater Actors Plot to Assassinate Stalin during His Last Days

Observer: Book Culture: ‘The Yid’ Is at Home on the Upper West Side

Jewish Journal: ‘The Yid’ embarks on a hero’s journey

NPR: "The Yid" Blends Soviet Fact and Fiction

The Washington Post: ‘The Yid’: A ragtag group of Russians team up to assassinate Stalin

Milwaukee Journal Centinel: 'The Yid' Sticks it to Stalin with sarcastic aplomb

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