From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In her stunning short story debut, Krasikov hones in on the subtleties of hope and despair that writhe in the hearts of her protagonists, largely Russian and Georgian immigrants who have settled on the East Coast. In Better Half, 22-year-old Anya gets a protection order against her husband, Ryan, after he attacks her; he pleads for forgiveness, but, Anya realizes, a future with Ryan would be like staying in Russia. In The Repatriates a man returns to Moscow—to his wife's disappointment—intent on applying to the Russian stock market some tricks he picked up on Wall Street. In Maia in Yonkers, a Georgian immigrant is visited by her son, and the tensions are fierce and palpable. In The Alternate, Victor meets the Americanized daughter of an old love from Russia. Though many of Krasikov's stories are bleak, there are swells of promise; even Lera, whose husband leaves her for another woman, suddenly felt nothing but the most pure-hearted compassion for him, a kindness and forgiveness that almost broke her heart. Krasikov's prose is precise, and her stories are intelligent, complex and passionate. (Aug.)
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Many of Krasikov’s characters in her captivating debut are immigrants of the former Soviet Union, searching for, and often finding, resilience in life and love. In the heartrending “Maia in Yonkers,” Maia, a Georgian immigrant, scrupulously plans her son’s visit to New York, where she works as a caretaker. When the two embark on a tour of the city, the tension between Maia’s expectations for her son and his juvenile indifference swells to an anxious climax. “The Alternate” follows Victor as he comes to term with the life he left behind during a dinner with the brash American daughter of his former Russian lover. In “Debt,” Lev, a loving uncle who built a new life in America, struggles with a request from his wayward niece, Sonya, who only appears in her uncle’s life when she is in need. Krasikov’s careful prose augments the quiet complexity of her characters as they confront love and loss within an unfamiliar landscape. Despite their melancholic situations, the protagonists in these eight tales still manage to find moments of reckoning and grace. --Leah Strauss
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