Sunday, May 24, 2015
Panic in a Suitcase by Yelena Akhtiorskaya
This is a book you read for its vivid characters and language more than plot. Panic abounds in biting cultural and visual observations, as when Pasha, debating whether to cede to his family's pressures to relocate to Brooklyn, reflects, "His fellow countrymen hadn't ventured bravely into a new land, they'd borrowed a tiny nook at the very rear of someone else's crumbling estate to make a tidy replication of the messy, imperfect original they'd gone through so many hurdles to escape, imprisoning themselves in their own lack of imagination." He notes that even the food is uncannily similar, "the only divergence being in abundance." It is both wonderful and manageable. Not too Slavic in it's length but just as sharp in it's wit.