Maxim D. Shrayer
|Shrayer, Maxim D.|
|Born||Maksim Davidovich Shrayer
5 June 1967
Moscow, Russia, USSR
|Occupation||author, literary scholar, translator, professor|
|Alma mater||Brown University, Yale University|
National Jewish Book Award (2007)Guggenheim Fellowship (2012)
|Spouse(s)||Karen E. Lasser|
Shrayer, Maxim D. (Russian: Шраер, Максим Давидович; born June 5, 1967, Moscow, USSR) is a bilingual Russian-American author, translator, and literary scholar, and a professor of Russian, English, and Jewish Studies at Boston College.
Maxim D. Shrayer was born and grew up in Moscow, USSR, in the family of the writer David Shrayer-Petrov, and the translator Emilia Shrayer. Together with his parents he spent almost 9 years as a refusenik before immigrating to the US in the summer of 1987. Shrayer attended Moscow University, Brown University (BA 1989), Rutgers University (MA 1990), and Yale University (Ph.D. 1995). Since 1996 he has been teaching at Boston College, where he is presently a Professor of Russian, English, and Jewish Studies. Shrayer lives in Chestnut Hill, Mass. with his wife Dr. Karen E. Lasser, a medical researcher, and their two daughters.
Scholarship and Translations 
Shrayer has authored, co-authored, edited, or co-edited more than ten books in English and Russian. He has translated into English works by over forty writers, including two books of fiction by his father, David Shrayer-Petrov, which Shrayer edited and cotranslated. A noted scholar of Vladimir Nabokov and Jewish-Russian literature, Shrayer has published extensively on Nabokov, Ivan Bunin and émigré culture and various aspects of multiple identities in 19th and 20th century literature. His book "Russian Poet-Soviet Jew" (2000) was the first study focused on Jewish literary identity in the early Soviet decades. With his father Shrayer coauthored the first book about the avant-garde poet Genrikh Sapgir. For the two-volume Anthology of Jewish-Russian Literature: Two Centuries of a Dual Identity in Prose and Poetry, 1801-2001 Shrayer received the National Jewish Book Award (2007). In 2012 Shrayer was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Literary career 
Unlike most representatives of the so-called “new wave” of Russian-American writing, Maxim D. Shrayer had written and published extensively in his native Russian prior to having made a transition to writing prose predominantly in English. Shrayer began to write poetry and prose in his native Russian at the age of eighteen and subsequently contributed it to Russian-language magazine abroad and in the former USSR. His Russian-language poetry has been gathered in three collections. At Brown University Shrayer majored in comparative literature and literary translation and studied fiction writing with John Hawkes. Around 1995, the year when he received a Ph.D. in Russian literature from Yale University, Shrayer transitioned to writing creative prose in English. His stories, essays and memoirs, have since appeared in American, Canadian, and British magazines, among them Agni," Kenyon Review," and Southwest Review. Shrayer's poetry and prose have been translated into Japanese, German, Croatian, Chinese and other languages.
Shrayer's literary memoir "Waiting for America: A Story of Emigration" appeared in 2007 as the first literary book in the English language to capture the experience of Soviet Jewish emigres and former refuseniks waiting in Italy en route to the New World. Of Waiting for America Sam Coale wrote in The Providence Journal that “[t]he glory of this book lies in Shrayer’s sinuous, neo-Proustian prose, beautifully fluid and perceptive with its luminous shocks of recognition, landscapes, descriptions and asides…Tales and teller mesmerize and delight.”
Shrayer's collection of stories Yom Kippur in Amsterdam, was published in 2009. Of Yom Kippur in Amsterdam Leah Strauss wrote in Booklist: "This intricate, thoughtful collection explores the inexorable complexities of relationships and religion…Shrayer’s eight delicate stories trace his characters’ diverse struggles against the limits of tradition and culture." Reviewing the collection in "MiltiCultural Review," Eva Martin Sartori remarked that "a sense of longing suffuses all the stories....the exquisitely precise vocabulary manages to locate these characters in the present..."
Literary works in English:
- Yom Kippur in Amsterdam: Stories. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2009.
- Waiting for America: A Story of Emigration. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2007.
Selected books of criticism and biography:
- "I SAW IT: Ilya Selvinsky and the Legacy of Bearing Witness to the Shoah". Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2013.
- Genrikh Sapgir: Avant-garde Classic (with David Shrayer-Petrov). St. Petersburg: Dmitrij Bulanin, 2004 [in Russian].
- Nabokov: Themes and Variations. St. Petersburg: Academic Project, 2000 [in Russian].
- Russian Poet/Soviet Jew: The Legacy of Eduard Bagritskii. Lanham, MA and London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000.
- The World of Nabokov's Stories. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1998.
- An Anthology of Jewish-Russian Literature: Two Centuries of Dual Identity in Prose and Poetry, 1801-2001. 2 vols. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2007.
A detailed list of Shrayer's books and publications is found at his Boston College website
Selected interviews 
- Interview with the Voice of Russia
- Interview with author Maxim D. Shrayer
- “Ia by ves’ svoi russkii iazyk otdal dotla…” (“I would give up my Russian language completely…”)
- "To write in Russian or in English is both a choice and a destiny..."
- Maxim D. Shrayer discusses his book "Waiting for America" in a 2011 video
- Maxim D. Shrayer discusses his book "Yom Kippur in Amsterdam" in a 2011 video
- Maxim D. Shrayer in the Encyclopedia of Russian America, 2011
Selected news features 
- American Productivity, "The Boston Globe"
- Tales of a Totalitarian State: Newton Author Helps Chronicle Soviet Union Life
- Destiny: A Poet Writes in His Father's Words
- In Other Words: The Translator’s Double Life
- "Russkie idut" ("The Russians Are Coming"), New Life