by David Bezmozgis
Award-winning author David Bezmozgis’s first story collection in more than a decade, hailed by the Toronto Star as “intelligent, funny, unfailingly sympathetic”
In the title story, a father and his young daughter stumble into a bizarre version of his immigrant childhood. A mysterious tech conference brings a writer to Montreal, where he discovers new designs on the past in “How It Used to Be.” A grandfather’s Yiddish letters expose a love affair and a wartime secret in “Little Rooster.” In “Childhood,” Mark’s concern about his son’s phobias evokes a shameful incident from his own adolescence. In “Roman’s Song,” Roman’s desire to help a new immigrant brings him into contact with a sordid underworld. At his father’s request, Victor returns to Riga, the city of his birth, where his loyalties are tested by the man he might have been in “A New Gravestone for an Old Grave.” And, in the noir-inspired “The Russian Riviera,” Kostya leaves Russia to pursue a boxing career only to find himself working as a doorman in a garish nightclub in the Toronto suburbs.
In these deeply felt, slyly humorous stories, Bezmozgis pleads no special causes but presents immigrant characters with all their contradictions and complexities, their earnest and divided hearts.