Natasha: And Other Stories

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Macmillan, Jun 9, 2004 - Fiction - 147 pages
7 Reviews
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.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LibraryCin - LibraryThing

3.5 stars This is a book of short stories focusing on Russian Jews who have immigrated to Toronto, Ontario. I liked that these stories followed the same people, or the same general group of people ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rocketjk - LibraryThing

This is a slim volume of lovely, loosely interconnected short stories about a Jewish immigrants in Toronto in the latter part of the 20th century, seen through the eyes of the family's only son, Mark ... Read full review

Contents

Body
3
Back Matter
149
Back Flap
155
Back Cover
156
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

David Bezmozgis (Bez-MOZE-ghis) was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1973. In 1980 he immigrated with his parents to Toronto, where he lives today. This is his first book.

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