An agonizing dance

Boris Fishman’s memoir ‘Savage Feasts’ provides insight into the immigrant struggles of a Soviet Jewish family.

By ELAINE MARGOLIN
March 21, 2019 11:59
An agonizing dance

‘HE GOES home angry and filled with self-loathing; a feeling that has been his companion for longer than he cares to remember.’. (photo credit: REBECCA HALL/SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS)

 
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Boris Fishman knows firsthand what it feels like to feel a fierce attachment toward a family who threaten to swallow him whole. His strained journey toward adulthood, under the strong hand of his domineering mother, brokenhearted father and tough-minded grandfather was filled with toxic strains of love, hate and bitterness, combined with smothered dreams.

Fishman, 39, came to America with his family from Belarus at the age of nine and served as his family’s ambassador to the strange new world they all found in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and eventually, the placid suburbs of New Jersey. His extraordinary, compelling new memoir, Savage Feasts: Three Generations, Two Continents, and a Dinner Table, shows us a secular Jewish family who settle into chronic despair. Fishman chronicles for us with great imaginative flair his own journey toward independence, an awkward and agonizing dance.

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