Ever since the Jews had abandoned Israel, they had accumulated in numerous Diasporas throughout the world for hundreds of years. Some had stayed loyal to their roots, some dissolved in their new environments. With many memorable and iconic works in literature, film and music created, one might have suspected that the subject matter lived itself out. However, a newly written book by Salita and Petrov “Princess of Brighton” presents a fresh outlook on a contemporary Jewish Shtetel. Many had tried in one form or another to present and romanticize a Soviet-Jewish enclave in South Brooklyn called “Brighton Beach”. After reading “Princess of Brighton beach” I was pleasantly surprised. Aside of being easy to read and understand, everyone who will read the story will most likely learn something and hopefully make some adjustments in their challenging contemporary lives.
Actual problems dealing with Immigrant trials and tribulations, hardships of newly arrived immigrants, difficulties dealing with learning the language, finding work, settling, and adjusting to their new environment remain major challenges for new Americans. In early 20th Centuries there were also Ghettos of the lower east side where Yiddish was the language of choice and older immigrants didn’t have to learn a new language in order to communicate and function in their new world. It was rather interesting to realize how authors dealt with the story line that drew parallels and inspirations from real world experiences. That is the difference between fiction and artistically expressed contemporary novel. Books illustrators had done a fabulous job transforming various provincial and hostile environments into numerous watercolor master drawings that will help readers get an even a better feel for the mood presented in the writings. Biblical characters presented in the story connected to contemporary happenings. They had direct and deep attachment to their modern incarnations presented in classical good vs evil.
It is not an easy task to follow in Isaak Babels, Sholom Aleyhims or Solomon Mihoels footsteps, but the initial baptism into the genre of Romanticizing provincial Jewish life was indeed a very brave attempt for two young authors by the names of Salita and Petrov. I highly recommend this book to everyone who can relate to struggles and constant competitive strive of trying to make life happen in a place not native to their place of birth.