Lilli Chernofsky

Nina Vida

Lilli Chernofsky is a featured title for the Jewish Book Council Network and was the runner-up for the 2019 San Francisco Book Festival.
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  • Print ISBN: 978-1-941799-97-0
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-941799-98-7
  • 278 pages, 6 in. x 9 in. matte paperback
  • Publication Date: January 23, 2018
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Europe is in flames, Nazis are at the gates of the city, and the Chernofsky family's only chance for escape rests firmly on the slim shoulders of seventeen-year-old Lilli.

With war at their doorstep, Lilli Chernofsky flees Lithuania with her brother Aaron and a group of yeshiva students. Along with other Jewish refugees, Lilli makes a home in the ghettos of Shanghai. Though they managed to escape the horror in Europe, they are now faced with starvation, subhuman conditions, and violence at the hands of Japanese soldiers in Shanghai.

Lilli Chernofsky provides a portal to history, a glimpse into the lives of ordinary people in tragic circumstances. The mystery of who people really are, what they will do in adversity—survive honorably or by betraying others—is at the novel’s heart, but it is young Lilli’s startling metamorphosis from sheltered teen to unwavering heroine that is its cri de coeur.

Advance Praise for Lilli Chernofsky

"In breathtaking detail, novelist Nina Vida draws you into the world of the Jews exiled in Shanghai during World War Two, a world inhospitable and violent, and too often overlooked in history. Lilli Chernofsky, a young woman forced to flee her home in Lithuania, must find a way to survive and help those she loves survive as well. While others fall victim to despair or avarice, Lilli, an unlikely heroine raised in a restrictive society, learns to navigate a dangerous world without losing her honor or compassion. Lilli Chernofsky is a story of treachery and deceit, brutality and bigotry, and, yet in the midst of the harshness and indignities visited upon the Jewish refugees, Lilli’s story remains a triumph of love and loyalty."

Cynthia A. Graham, author, Beneath Still Waters and Behind Every Door

"Nina Vida has written an astonishingly good book. By bribery and skill, Lilli outlasts the cruelty and degradation of Shanghai's Japanese occupiers. I found myself transfixed by a master class of absolutely brilliant writing; descriptions of illicit wheeling and dealing brings each character into focus using a clever mixture of narrative and dialogue."

John Newton, publisher, Next Century Books, England

About the Author

Watch Nina's "Meet the Author" video for the Jewish Book Council

Nina Vida’s writing career began when her children went off to college and she enrolled in the University Without Walls program at California State University Dominguez Hills to pursue a long-deferred degree in English. One of the requirements of the degree was a semester of creative writing. Nina, who had never written fiction before, decided to write a story about her thirty-eight-year-old sister’s open-heart surgery. The professor said it brought her to tears. Nina’s husband had been a Navy journalist in the Korean War, and when he read the story he said he thought Nina had the makings of a writer and should try her hand at a novel. That was in 1980. Lilli Chernofsky is her ninth published novel.

She is a native-born Californian, and lives with her husband in Huntington Beach, California.