WEST CHESTER, Pa., Aug. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Short of being in Nazi-occupied Europe, it's hard to image a worse environment for a Jew than 1960s and 1970s Soviet Russia. The Russian and then Soviet empires have long been known for intolerance of Jews with targeted violence and brutality being a regular occurrence.
Jewish heritage weighed heaviest on teenage boys who recognized that their futures relied on their high school performance. Education was the single escape to avoid an oppressive and deadly future. Failing to secure one of the few spots in technical colleges meant they would be drafted into the army and become a target for their own comrades-in-arms simply because they were Jewish.
In Tender, a coming of age novel set during those treacherous times, Sasha faces the many dangers of Soviet culture. By age nine, he is already binge drinking and at eleven is navigating dangerous neighborhoods. In his early teens, a teacher introduces him to counter-culture musicians and writers, distracting him from his studies.
His teacher's attention then turns more intimate: they become lovers and she pushes him unprepared into a new emotional domain. TENDER is a story of passion, power, class struggles and survival in one of the most unforgiving societies in the world.
Author Iosif Rikhter, a Russian native and expert in difficult relationships, has written a novel incorporating the themes of counter-culture, extreme anti-Semitism, and adult-youth relationships. "The novel offers an insider's view into a closed, class-conscious society of the past," notes Rikhter.
TENDER poses important questions for the reader. Even if you can escape your fate and rise above your station, do you just land in another trap with different chains? The book turns the story of Nabokov's Lolita upside down and forces the reader to question societal biases. Is this situation more acceptable because the youth is male and the teacher is female? Does it change whether we believe that the teacher-student relationship is abusive and who holds greater responsibility?
TENDER, Rikhter's debut novel, goes on sale September 16, 2014 in printed and electronic formats. Early reviews show that it delivers on the promise of all the themes:
A compelling, moving and frequently very funny journey through Soviet Russia's minefield of sexual hypocrisy, anti-Semitism, and the brutalities of power. -Lisa Cohen, Ph. D.
Tender gets at the fundamental complexity of human relationships, and the disturbing, yet compelling, dynamic between controller and controlled in those which are intrinsically abusive. -Emily, goodreads.com
For more information on the novel, supplemental background on the book themes, and original period photos, visit www.iosifrikhter.com.
Visit www.iosifRikhter.com for contact details, photos, and an author bio.
Gary Zenker; (610) 883-2346
For review copies, author interviews
SOURCE Iosif Rikhter