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For Stefan and Alexandra Ivarin, who moved from Russia to America nearly twenty years ago, becoming “American” is a lifelong project

Stefan and Alexandra Ivarin emigrated to America at the end of the nineteenth century. Russian Jewish socialists, the Ivarins are now established in a Long Island home designed, somewhat haphazardly, by Stefan. Despite their attempts at assimilation, the Ivarins find themselves still struggling to find a balance between their Russian roots and their American lives, between their past and their future—and those of their children.
Based in part upon Hobson’s own childhood, First Papers is a tender portrait of the tension between embracing a foreign culture full of opportunity while longing for a lost homeland.

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