The Raskin Family: A Novel

The Raskin Family: A Novel

from 22.95

Dmitry Stonov
Translated by Konstantin Gurevich & Helen Anderson
with a forward and afterword by Leonid Stonov

ISBN: 9781644690574 (hardcover) / 9781644690581 (paperback)
Pages: approx. 210 pp.; 7 illus., 2 maps
Publication Date: October 2019


Meyer Raskin is a wealthy Jewish entrepreneur running a large agricultural estate in Belarus on the western outskirts of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. His wife Chava feels out of place and yearns for the quiet life of a Jewish shtetl. Together they have six children, some of whom help their father on the estate, while others are more interested in pursuing education or getting involved in revolutionary politics. Their lives are interrupted first by the Russian revolution of 1905 and later by World War I, which eventually turns them all into refugees. This is an autobiographical novel based on the author’s family.

Dmitry Stonov (1898-1962) was a Soviet literary author and a war correspondent in World War II. Because of his ties to the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, he spent over five years in the Gulag (1949-1954). He published a dozen books and many short stories, some autobiographical.


The Raskin Family is a vivid, compelling portrait of Jewish life in the twilight of the Russian Empire. Dmitry Stonov fashions his semi-autobiographical novel with deep feeling but without either sentimentality or nostalgia for what was lost. His characters, like his many family members, struggle to make a life for themselves in the face of unrelenting pressures and prejudice until social and political change, accelerated by war and revolution, engulf their traditional lives in the Jewish Pale of Settlement. First published in Moscow in 1929, and then republished under Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989, The Raskin Family is a stunning achievement.
— Joshua Rubenstein, author of "The Last Days of Stalin"
Aside from his excellent prose, Stonov’s book contains precious details about an era whose features are barely discernible today. The Raskin Family paints a picture of the fate of an entire generation standing at the historic threshold that began with great hopes and ended with those hopes crushed. This autobiographical novel has outlived its author and will no doubt remain not only on library shelves but also in the grateful memory of the upcoming generations.
— David Markish, author of To Become Lutov
The Raskin Family, with its intimate portraits of individuals in the Pale of Settlement before the start of the Russian revolution, is akin to the stories of Sholem Aleichem. Not only is it a record of its time, it is a psychological novel written in a vibrant poetic style with humor and cinematic clarity. A worthy addition to anyone’s library.
— Larry Lerner, President, Union of Councils for Jews in the former Soviet Union (UCSJ)