Natasha and Other Stories

Natasha and Other Stories

Book - 2004
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Baker & Taylor
A collection of short stories follows a Russian Jewish family living in Toronto, covering twenty-three years in the life of Mark, from arguments with neighbors to his first sexual encounter with a cousin and the death of his grandfather.

McMillan Palgrave
Few readers had heard of David Bezmozgis before last May, when Harper's, Zoetrope, and The New Yorker all printed stories from his forthcoming collection. In the space of a few weeks, these magazines introduced America to the Bermans--Bella and Roman and their son, Mark--Russian Jews who have fled the Riga of Brezhnev for Toronto, the city of their dreams.

Told through Mark's eyes, and spanning the last twenty-three years, Natasha brings the Bermans and the Russian-Jewish enclaves of Toronto to life in stories full of big, desperate, utterly believable consequence. In "Tapka" six-year-old Mark's first experiments in English bring ruin and near tragedy to the neighbors upstairs. In "Roman Berman, Massage Therapist," Roman and Bella stake all their hopes for Roman's business on their first, humiliating dinner in a North American home. Later, in the title story, a stark, funny anatomy of first love, we witness Mark's sexual awakening at the hands of his fourteen-year-old cousin, a new immigrant from the New Russia. In "Minyan," Mark and his grandfather watch as the death of a tough old Odessan cabdriver sets off a religious controversy among the poor residents of a Jewish old-folks' home.

The stories in Natasha capture the immigrant experience with a serious wit as compelling as the work of Jhumpa Lahiri, Nathan Englander, or Adam Haslett. At the same time, their evocation of boyhood and youth, and the battle for selfhood in a passionately loving Jewish family, recalls the first published stories of Bernard Malamud, Harold Brodkey, Leonard Michaels, and Philip Roth.


Blackwell North Amer
Natasha is the chronicle of the Bermans, told in stories. In "Tapka," six-year-old Mark's first experiments in English bring ruin and near tragedy to the neighbors upstairs. In "Roman Berman, Massage Therapist," Roman and Bella stake all their hopes for Roman's business on their first dinner with a North American family. In the title story, we witness Mark's sexual awakening at the hands of his fourteen-year-old cousin, a new immigrant from the New Russia. In "Minyan," Mark and his grandfather watch as the death of an Odessan cabdriver sets off a religious controversy among the residents of a Jewish old-people's home.
The stories in Natasha capture the immigrant experience.

Baker
& Taylor

A debut collection of short stories renders the life of a Russian-Jewish family living in Toronto in vivid detail, covering twenty-three years in the life of Mark, from arguments with neighbors and humiliating social encounters, to his first sexual encounter with a cousin and the death of his grandfather. 40,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780374281410
0374281416
Branch Call Number: Fiction Bezmozgis
Characteristics: 147 p. ; 22 cm

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ownedbydoxies
Aug 27, 2013

I hope this author continues writing. I've read both his currently published works and loved both. Each concerns Russian Jews leaving the country and settling elsewhere in the world, searching for a place of peace where they can raise their families. The culture clash that ensues adds flavor to his stories.

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uncommonreader
May 02, 2012

Short stories. First book. Some good stories, but repetitive. Recommend "The Free World" instead.

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