Leaving Katya by Paul Greenberg is a very funny but sensitive account of a young man's first real adventure in love. The object of his affections happens to be from the Soviet Union/Russia which provides the perfect metaphor for the strangeness, the foreigness that can sometimes be both the raison d'etre and the bette noire of romance. No place feels more foreign to Daniel, the book's hero, or more compelling. There is something recognizable and strangely comforting about the Russia phase and the affair with Katya. As someone who lived in Russia for several years, I often felt I was living in a country whose history followed the trajectory a giant mood swing, where emotions were the brightest colors in a grey reality. Daniel struggles for the most part with himself , how to appreciate both what is recognizable and what is foreign in another person and isn't that what love is all about, after all? A wonderfully written, charming and brave account with an authentic feel for the culture and people of the Former Soviet Union.