There Are Jews in My House is one of the most striking debuts of recent years. Tracing the lives and aspirations of Russians living in Moscow and Brooklyn, these poignant, sad and funny stories create a luminous new literary world.
In the title story, set during the Second World War, Galina, a gentile, offers refuge to a Jewish friend and her daughter, only to find herself increasingly resentful of their presence in her home. In “Mistress,” a nine-year-old boy, new to America, escorts his grandmother to her weekly doctors’ appointments to interpret her myriad complaints. At the same time, he becomes aware that his grandfather may be involved with another woman. And in “Love Lessons–Mondays, 9 A.M.” a young math teacher assigned to teach a sex education class becomes all too aware that her students are more experienced than she is.
Lara Vapnyar emigrated from Russia to New York in 1994 and began publishing short stories in English in 2002. Her work has appeared in Open City and The New Yorker. She lives on Staten Island.