Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo
By Boris Fishman
Boris Fishman, a Belarus-born writer who lives and works in America, made a critical splash in his adopted homeland with his debut, A Replacement Life. A funny, semi-autobiographical story of cultural identity, it bore similarities to Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated . Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo sounds, if anything, even more fun-filled, and plays similar games with cultural backdrops and foreground. Maya and Alex live in New York but, like the protagonists of A Replacement Life, hail from Russia. Having met in 1992, the couple fall into a mild, uneasy cohabitation when they decide to adopt a baby, Max, after they are unable to conceive naturally. Max was born in Montana – what could be more naturally American? But Max is strange, to say the least, prone to peculiar illnesses, erratic behaviour and sudden vanishing acts. Maya decides the cure or at least answer lies in Montana, and has something to do with the plea from Max’s biological mother that gives the novel its title. Both Fishman’s ingenuity and story put me in mind of Reif Larsen’s wild but long I Am Radar. Fishman is the more orthodox, but only just. A funny, meandering and pleasingly odd fable.