One More Year is chiefly about exile and fidelity…Krasikov once worked as a reporter for a newspaper in New Hampshire, and she knows both the emotional texture and the legal minutiae of the lives of immigrants the way a journalist might. (After the waitress's husband hits her, a lawyer tells her she can petition for resident papers as a domestic violence victim.) But Krasikov's cast of exiles, refugees and repatriates are also, more fundamentally, people moving in and out of loveor what passes for it. She has written a sensitive book about the economics of relationships: how they can become subtle transactions by people trying to pull off the trick of occupying more than one place and more than one time.
The New York Times
In her stunning short story debut, Krasikov hones in on the subtleties of hope and despair that writhe in the hearts of her protagonists, largely Russian and Georgian immigrants who have settled on the East Coast. In "Better Half," 22-year-old Anya gets a protection order against her husband, Ryan, after he attacks her; he pleads for forgiveness, but, Anya realizes, "a future with Ryan would be like staying in Russia." In "The Repatriates" a man returns to Moscow-to his wife's disappointment-intent on applying to the Russian stock market some tricks he picked up on Wall Street. In "Maia in Yonkers," a Georgian immigrant is visited by her son, and the tensions are fierce and palpable. In "The Alternate," Victor meets the Americanized daughter of an old love from Russia. Though many of Krasikov's stories are bleak, there are swells of promise; even Lera, whose husband leaves her for another woman, "suddenly felt nothing but the most pure-hearted compassion for him, a kindness and forgiveness that almost broke her heart." Krasikov's prose is precise, and her stories are intelligent, complex and passionate. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The fiction of post-Soviet immigrants has been gaining in popularity over the past few years but has mainly focused on the experience of Russians. In her first story collection, Krasikov, a native of the Ukraine, adds two other dimensions to this recent phenomenon: the experience of women in particular and of the peoples of the smaller Soviet republics (Georgia, Tajikistan, etc.) after the fall of the Soviet Union. Krasikov has noted the influence of the book of Ruth on her stories, which maintain a biblical surface calm while telling the stories of women caught in tough situations, having sacrificed security and prosperity for love or devotion (especially to children). The tone, however, remains fairly constant throughout, and many of the motifs are revisited once too often without enough contrast, which makes it hard to see the collection as more than a series of repeated technical studies, perhaps in preparation for Krasikov's anticipated first novel. The collection as a whole shows promise, however, and librarians should watch Krasikov's name in the future. A suitable addition to public libraries.
The internal and external struggles of modern Eastern European immigrants are explored in Ukrainian native Krasikov's debut short-story collection. America remains a tantalizing paradox of opportunity and limitation for the steely folks who populate Krasikov's world. While many of the stories are told from the point of view of women, hailing from the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, the characters differ greatly both in terms of economic opportunity and religious affinity-even as they all share a certain longing for love and connection. The 40-ish live-in companion of an elderly man feels an unexpected attachment to her ailing roommate in a relationship initially based on mutual convenience. A mother working in Yonkers is reunited with her son after several years, barely recognizing the surly Tbilisi-bred teen he has grown into, while a strong-willed diner waitress quickly outgrows the thuggish 22-year-old American husband she married to stay in the country. A guilt-ridden, wealthy Jewish businessman (one of the rare male protagonists) tracks down the college-aged daughter of his dead first love, for reasons that are not even clear to him. The longest piece bounces back and forth between the United States and Moscow to trace the journey of a young accountant who, after an ill-advised and professionally compromising affair with a married co-worker, decompresses by visiting old friends in Moscow. Filled with clear-eyed observations, this elegant debut frequently alights on romantic disappointment (men come across especially badly) while leaving just enough room for hope.
“Sana Krasikov’s memorable characters emerge, fully formed and breathing on their own, from a deep, clear pool of seemingly effortless language, a knowing and incisive but empathetic sensibility. These stories are original, resplendent, and brilliant.”—Kate Christensen, author of The Great Man
“Sana Krasikov is the real thing. Her stories take shape inside the specific world of émigrés wrestling with language and loss and the stubborn details of survival, but they open into the largest of worlds and speak a universal language of heartbreak and desire.”—Jonathan Rosen, author of The Life of the Skies
“In her stunning short-story debut, Krasikov hones in on the subtleties of hope and despair that writhe in the hearts of her protagonists, largely Russian and Georgian immigrants who have settled on the East Coast … Krasikov’s prose is precise, and her stories are intelligent, complex, and passionate.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Sana Krasikov’s observations of the world her characters inhabit—full of big and small tragedies, laughable and lamentable incidents—are as sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, yet her understanding of her characters—most often of their follies and imperfections—are tender and sympathetic. She treats every story as a novel, and the readers of these stories will, in the end, live with the characters beyond the space of a short story. These stories are the debut of a major literary voice shaped by the literary traditions both American and Russian.”—Yiyun Li, author of A Thousand Years of Good Prayers
“Shrewdly humane and formally exquisite . . . Krasikov is as good as Junot Díaz and Jhumpa Lahiri were at this stage in their careers.”—Miami Herald
“Stunning.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Immediate, urgent, and gratifyingly real.”—Entertainment Weekly