Mind the doors

November 8, 2012

By Jim Dwyer, "Library Journal"

In these linked stories, set primarily in London, Zinik's (One-Way Ticket) quasi-autobiographical narrator is a Jewish Russian migr . Sometimes he works as a translator, and in his own life he must "translate" a new culture to try to find his place in a complex and rapidly changing community. Like many contemporary Russian writers, Zinik brightens his rather grim realism with brilliant absurdist humor, strange metamorphoses, philosophical asides, and sly wordplay (e.g., "slipped the banana peal of his memory"; "Now and here added up to nowhere for Victor"). 

Although this book will be of greatest interest to aficionados of the Soho art scene or Soviet migr literature, Zinik's wry but humanistic consideration of universal questions will appeal to a broad range of sophisticated readers. As the winner of two Russian Booker awards and the screenwriter of the popular BBC film, The Mushroom Picker, Zinik is well regarded overseas. 

These stories should enhance his reputation and popularity in America. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.