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Lenin Lives Next Door: Marriage, Martinis, and Mayhem in Moscow
     

Lenin Lives Next Door: Marriage, Martinis, and Mayhem in Moscow

5.0 1
by Jennifer Eremeeva
 
"You have to really want to go to Russia. The briefest of visits involves a lot of paperwork, and if you want to hang around for any length of time, they make you take a leprosy test."

For American writer, imperial Russia enthusiast, and veteran expatriate, Jennifer Eremeeva, this is just one of many observations about Russia, where she has lived for the last twenty

Overview

"You have to really want to go to Russia. The briefest of visits involves a lot of paperwork, and if you want to hang around for any length of time, they make you take a leprosy test."

For American writer, imperial Russia enthusiast, and veteran expatriate, Jennifer Eremeeva, this is just one of many observations about Russia, where she has lived for the last twenty years with HRH, her Handsome Russian Husband (occasionally a.k.a. Horrible Russian Husband), and their growing daughter. Luckily for Eremeeva, she didn't need to make up most of the events that inspired this, her first work of fiction. When she (and her alter-ego heroine, coincidentally named Jennifer) quit her job to write full time, she became enthralled with the dingy gray building across the courtyard from her apartment, where, it turned out, Vladimir Lenin's embalmed corpse was routinely freshened up and preserved. The result is Lenin Lives Next Door: Marriage, Martinis, and Mayhem in Moscow.

Based on Eremeeva's two decades in Russia, Lenin Lives Next Door knits together vignettes of cross-cultural and expatriate life with sharp observation, colorful historical background, and engaging humor. Each thematic chapter is an anecdotal exploration of an aspect of life in today's Russia, told with the help of a recurring cast of eccentric Russian and expat characters. Lenin Lives Next Door introduces readers to Russians in their everyday milieu: at their dachas, in three-day traffic jams, and celebrating their 300-plus public and professional holidays with mayonnaise-based salads. Lenin Lives Next Door is an inside look at Russia by a recovering Russophile.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2015-07-28
In Eremeeva's collection of humorous fictional vignettes, an American woman looks back on 20 years living in Russia after marrying her "HRH," or Handsome (and sometimes Horrible) Russian Husband. Inspired by romantic, sepia-toned dreams of the doomed Romanovs, Jennifer starts out as a tourist in the Soviet Union in the mid-1980s, graduating to hosting guided tours and trade delegations. In 1991, she meets "Comrade Smashing," a military officer: "He had a smile that started in his warm brown eyes and ended at my curled-up toes." Although she is warned that "Soviet men are impossible," Jennifer is smitten. The two marry and have a daughter; her husband leaves the military to go into business, and she becomes head of public relations and marketing at a large bank. With the couple doing well in the post-Soviet economy, Jennifer quits her job to write a book much like this one: its topics include home furnishings, food, expatriate life, dachas (country cottages owned by Russians), hospitality, and Russia's new rich. Eremeeva's debut is often laugh-out-loud funny; for example, while arguing with HRH about medical insurance—he's against it—Jennifer realizes that for Russians, "The long-range plan for the distant future option is never their default position except where root vegetables are concerned." She undergirds her observations with considerations of Russian history that help explain the country's foibles, such as weather, geography, and its history of serfdom. Regarding dachas, she blends witty observations (one dacha has a state-of-the-art sauna but "eleventh-century toilet arrangements") with more serious commentary: "The fact of the matter is…the whole dacha thing is a well-oiled machine designed to keep indentured service for females alive and well." The chapters on Jennifer's expat friends hold less interest, except for what they reveal about Russia; her interior design friend, for example, is outshone by the work he's commissioned to produce, such as a staircase "curved in an aggressive trajectory up to the second floor from its anchor: a ten-foot-high bronze nymph holding aloft a torch…[which] burst into neon lime-green, orange, and purple flame." Comical, thoroughly entertaining, and insightful.
In Moscow's Shadows - Mark Galeotti
Lenin Lives Next Door, by 20-year-veteran US expat in Moscow Jennifer Eremeeva, is an excellent addition to the canon that says much about the day-to-lives and aspirations of today's Russians, still stranded between Soviet legacy and uncertain future, as well as the world of the expat in such a country."
Russian Life - Paul Richardson
"An unabashed, hilarious, gutsy work of creative nonfiction, Lenin Lives Next Door is the triple-distilled product of two decades of Eremeeva's life in Russia.

If you want to know what it's like to live in Russia for two decades without actually doing it, this is where I'd start."
Russia Beyond the Headlines - Phoebe Taplin
"If Jane Austen had been an American living in post-Soviet Moscow, she might have made similar observations to those in Jennifer Eremeeva's Lenin Lives Next Door. This entertainingly bitchy comedy of manners ...is clever, funny and rude about everyone."
Fordham University and CBS News - Beth Knobel
Jennifer Eremeeva has the keen eye of a David Remnick or Hedrick Smith, but she is a whole lot funnier! Lenin Lives Next Door is a raucous look at how life in Russia has evolved from Soviet days to Putin s time, told by Russia s leading expat humorist...For anyone who appreciates witty prose and great storytelling, the vodka-infused trials and tribulations of Lenin Lives Next Door are a must-read.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781937650315
Publisher:
Small Batch Books
Publication date:
01/20/2014
Pages:
298
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.81(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Jennifer Eremeeva is an American writer based in Moscow, Russia. She is the author of LENIN LIVES NEXT DOOR: MARRIAGE, MARTINIS, AND MAYHEM IN MOSCOW and HAVE PERSONALITY DISORDER, WILL RULE RUSSIA. Her work has appeared in Reuters, The Moscow Times, Russia Beyond the Headlines, BBC’s Russia Service, and Russian Life. She writes about Russian history, cuisine, current events, and culture at Jennifer Eremeeva is a graduate of Columbia College with a degree in Russian Area Studies and also studied at the Moscow Institute of Photography.

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Lenin Lives Next Door: Marriage, Martinis, and Mayhem in Moscow 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite Lenin Lives Next Door: Marriage, Martinis, and Mayhem in Moscow by Jennifer Eremeeva is an intimate look at the life of an American woman living in Moscow. After reading a book on the last Russian royals, Nicholas and Alexandra, thirteen-year-old Jennifer falls madly in love with the country. She studies the Russian language, goes on a ten-day student trip to Leningrad, Pskov, Tver, and Moscow, and the romance continues. She finds herself in Russia in 1993 again, and this time she is managing back-to-back tours and hosting trade show delegations. As predicted by a Georgian sightseeing guide, Jennifer marries a Russian whom she dubs as HRH, meaning Handsome Russian Husband and occasionally, Horrible Russian Husband. The couple settles down in Moscow, has a daughter, and lives in an apartment not far away from where the embalmed corpse of Lenin gets regularly freshened up. Deciding to quit her job to write a book, Jennifer takes a look at her life, her adopted country, and her other expatriate friends in a funny way.      Witty, humorous, and informative are the three words that came to mind after I finished reading Lenin Lives Next Door: Marriage, Martinis, and Mayhem in Moscow. This book is obviously based on the life of the author, Jennifer Eremeeva, who has been living in Moscow for twenty years with her Russian husband and their daughter. The author’s voice is matter of fact, slightly ironic, and she writes in the conversational first person perspective, making the reading experience quite intimate. In going through the funny and sometimes hilarious events in the life of an American woman living in Russia, readers should be able to get a lot of information about the Russian people, as shaped by the country’s long and tumultuous history. Straddling two cultures, the author uses a special blend of sarcasm and humor, mixed with a certain amount of fondness in her writing style. The result is a book that is not only funny - it is absolutely charming!