Notes of a Joyful Sinner
Abel Raskas’ autobiography is a true breath of fresh air in the musty stream of former Soviet emigre memoirs.
At age two, Raskas miraculously escaped the Kovno ghetto — covertly smuggled out inside a suitcase. He spent his childhood in Vilnius, being bullied and later bullying others with most daring of tricks. Years later, Raskas decided to leave his prominent Jewish lawyer household to join the circus!
With seemingly unlimited talent to manipulate people, Raskas managed to graduate from the prestigious Leningrad University in only three years, and becomes an engineer-economist. He continues to become a solid leader of the Leningrad Research Institute and, in his own words, “the best expert on the implementation of non-automatic control systems.”
The absurdities of the Soviet system occupy the central stage of his wanderings. Abel – a born entrepreneur, can earn an extra ruble from any situation, and recounts his own unique encounters with the many first and third-rate Soviet swindlers.