This article examines how contemporary Russian-Jewish-American literature imagines home and belonging for diasporic subjects. It focuses on novels by immigrant Jewish writers born in the USSR, specifically Anya Ulinich, Gary Shteyngart, and Ellen Litman. The novels analyzed in the essay negotiate multiple attachments to spaces in Russia, the United States, and even Israel. Using theory in cultural criticism and urban geography, the article demonstrates that the fiction locates home on the scale of the city, neighborhood, and domestic space, rather than the nation. Applying Svetlana Boym’s concept of “diasporic intimacy,” the article charts a Russian-Jewish emigrant poetics of home and exile, linking contemporary representations with Soviet-era meditations on Jewish emplacement. At the same time, the fiction is placed in a global context, suggesting that Russian-Jewish-American writers are participating in a larger effort to imagine anti-statist and anti-autochthonous ways of dwelling.
Homes without a Homeland: Finding Diasporic Intimacy in Contemporary Russian-Jewish-American Fiction
Margarita Levantovskaya; Homes without a Homeland: Finding Diasporic Intimacy in Contemporary Russian-Jewish-American Fiction. Comparative Literature 1 December 2017; 69 (4): 394–412. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00104124-4260427
Download citation file: