(read in Hebrew)

This is a story of Vladimir Girshkin, a young American (born in Russia) in his quest to success in New York and in an illusionary Eastern-European city Prava (most likely modeled after the Czech capital city Prague). Vladimir works as a clerk in the immigration office, and is haunted by his parents to go study law. After switching a couple of (overly) stereotypical girlfriends he gets involved in a funny complication with the Catalan mafia and flees to Eastern Europe, where he joins the local branch of the Russian mafia.

Written by a Russian-Jew immigrant in the United States, this book is reflective on the author, in the sense that it tries to present the world-view of a character that faces the same problems and doubts as the typical fresh U.S. citizen of Russian origins.

The social issues addressed here are numerous: absorption of immigrants in America, relations between parents and children (especially the success-crazed quirks of Jewish families), the American youth living a "bohemian" life, and in particular the feelings of a young immigrant feeling "neither here not there", struggling to merge into society.

I must say I didn't like this book, mostly because I don't like books about peple trying to "find themselves" and acting in peculiar, irrational ways on their way. I just couldn't connect to any character in the story. Many reviews note that there is a lot of enjoyable word-play in the book, but the Hebrew translation (oh-so typically) managed to ruin that, though I could notice the language is special and very funny at some places.