"Birobidzhan" by Tomer Dotan-Dreyfus

Book presentation, reading and discussion 

Nominated for the German Book Prize 2023! 

Siberia, 1908: a bang shakes the Siberian forest of Tunguska. Two decades later, Stalin plans a Jewish-socialist autonomy on the border with China: Birobidzhan. In Tomer Dotan-Dreyfus' debut novel, what failed as a Stalinist experiment in the 1930s becomes the linchpin of a sparking story: there is Alex and Rachel, in love since childhood. Boris Klayn, a fisherman and native of Birobidzhan. Gregory and Sasha, close friends, one has depression, the other takes him on a road trip to Tunguska. Dmitrij, who is afraid of wolves. 
Life in Birobidzhan goes on as usual, the small and big worries of the inhabitants are far removed from all world events - until events come thick and fast: two strange men and a mute girl bring the idyllic community to bursting point. 

In "Birobidzhan", Tomer Dotan-Dreyfus tells the improbable and charming story of a Jewish-socialist shtetl in Siberia, drawing on the Yiddish narrative tradition and magical realism. A witty debut novel, idiosyncratic and full of fabulousness.

Language German
Moderation Michel Rebosura