Panic in A Suitcase

Panic in A Suitcase

A Novel

Book - 2014
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"A dazzling debut novel about a Russian immigrant family living in Brooklyn and their struggle to learn the new rules of the American Dream. In this account of two decades in the life of an immigrant household, the fall of communism and the rise of globalization are artfully reflected in the experience of a single family. Ironies, subtle and glaring, are revealed: the Nasmertovs left Odessa for Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, with a huge sense of finality, only to find that the divide between the old world and the new is not nearly as clear-cut as they thought. The dissolution of the Soviet Union makes returning just a matter of a plane ticket, and the Russian-owned shops in their adopted neighborhood stock even the most obscure comforts of home. Pursuing the American Dream once meant giving up everything, but does the dream still work if the past is always within reach? If the Nasmertov parents can afford only to look forward, learning the rules of aspiration, the family's youngest, Frida, can only look back. In striking, arresting prose loaded with fresh and inventive turns of phrase, Yelena Akhtiorskaya has written the first great novel of Brighton Beach: a searing portrait of hope and ambition, and a profound exploration of the power and limits of language itself, its ability to make connections across cultures and generations"-- Provided by publisher.
"The story of an immigrant family living in Brooklyn's Little Odessa, and the obstinate uncle who resists his family's and their adopted country's promise of a superior life"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), 2014
ISBN: 9781594632143
1594632146
9781594633829
1594633827
Characteristics: 307 pages ; 22 cm

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j
june_hope
Feb 04, 2016

Ms. Akhtiorskaya is a good writer with a good humor. She uses so named poker face humor, when you don’t know if a person is serious or joking. Humor was the best part of this book. The story itself is interesting up to a point. I think it would be hard to understand what it is about for people who never heard about Odessa or Brighton Beach area of New York and why they are so famous. Odessa is a large city in Ukraine famous for its beauty, large Jewish population and humor. Jewish population of Odessa, when moved to US in large quantities, created a small enclave of culture that pretended to be different from USSR, but carried on everything that people brought with them in their suitcases and their heads. The story is about two people from Jewish community who are in search for themselves and their purpose in life; this search is split between New York and Odessa and has a gap of 15 years in between two parts. The characters are from different generations, but with similar problems. They share bloodline and relatives; they make the same mistakes and are criticized for the same qualities and “mistakes”. In general, the book updated my vocabulary, but the ending that dropped me in the middle of nowhere was kind of a disappointment. I wish that the way the book had started was carried to the end.

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