A Busy Tuesday

September 17, 2008 at 10:12 am 1 comment

In addition to the Hitchcock screening, there’s also this at the Y next Tuesday:


Russian-American novelist Irina Reyn will speak on her new novel, set in Rego Park’s large Bukarian-Jewish enclave, on Tuesday, September 23, at 1:30 p.m., at the Central Queens YM & YWHA in Forest Hills. Born in Moscow, Reyn spent much of her childhood in New York and her work is a sharply drawn portrait of the Russian-American dream, from the inside. Her novel, What Happened to Anna K., reimagines the classic story of Tolstoy’s tragic heroine, setting the story in the Bukharian Jewish community. Reyn’s novel stands on its own, though, as a depiction of an immigrant community in Queens, its dreams and thwarted aspirations.


An Assistant Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, Irina Reyn is editor of Living on the Edge, and has published short stories and essays in publications such as The Forward, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Moscow Times.  Her talk is first in the fall Meet the Author Series sponsored by the Rabbi Simon Hevesi Library of the Central Queens YM & YWHA, at 67-09 108 Street in Forest Hills. All events are open to the general public, with a $4 donation requested.  For more information, call 718-268-5011, ext. 151, or email pkurtz@cqyjcc.org.

These Y e-mails never quite do the subject justice, so here is a review of the book that I found online:

From Publishers Weekly

Set among early 21st-century Russian Jewish immigrants in New York City, Reyn’s debut beautifully adapts Anna Karenina’s social melodrama for a decidedly different set of Russians. Anna, 30-something with a string of bad relationships behind her and a restless, literarily inclined soul, is wooed into marriage by the financial stability and social appropriateness of Alex K., an older businessman with roots in her Rego Park, Queens, community. As Anna chafes at her unromantic life, trouble hits in the form of David, the hipster-writer boyfriend of her sweet, naïve cousin, Katia. The furiously flying sparks between Anna and David provide cover as Katia is quietly pursued by Lev, a young Bukharan Jew who, like Anna, is a dreamer whose relationship with the émigré community is fraught. Reyn’s Anna is perhaps even harder to sympathize with than Tolstoy’s original, but Reyn’s sparkling insight into the Russian and Bukharan Jewish communities, and the mesmerizing intensity of her prose, make this debut a worthy remake. Lev’s and Anna’s divergent trajectories and choices illuminate how perilous the balance between self and society remains.


Entry filed under: Forest Hills.

Hitchcock Happening New-s

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. joe  |  December 31, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    the death of a blog is a very sad thing to witness


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