Open Mic Night in Moscow: And Other Stories from My Search for Black Markets, Soviet Architecture, and Emotionally Unavailable Russian Men

Open Mic Night in Moscow: And Other Stories from My Search for Black Markets, Soviet Architecture, and Emotionally Unavailable Russian Men

by Audrey Murray


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062823298
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/24/2018
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 498,041
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Audrey Murray is a redhead from Boston who moved to China and became a standup comedian. The co-founder of the Kung Fu Komedy, Audrey was named the funniest person in Shanghai by City Weekend magazine. Audrey is a staff writer for and a regular contributor at; her writing has also appeared in The Gothamist, China Economic Review, Nowness, Architizer, and on the wall of her dad’s office. Audrey has appeared on the Lost in America, Listen to This!, and Shanghai Comedy Corner podcasts, on CNN and ICS, and in Shanghai Daily, Time Out, Smart Shanghai, That’s Shanghai, and City Weekend. She recently published her first memoir, Open Mic Night in Moscow.

Table of Contents

Introduction XIII

The Silk Road 1

1 Opening for a Meditative Drum Circle in Almaty (Kazakhstan) 3

2 Crossing a Land Border from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan 18

3 Riding a Horse in the Mountains of Kyrgyzstan 30

4 The Most Terrifying flight on Earth (Tajikistan) 53

5 A Ten-Day Road Trip Through Tajikistan 70

6 Touring the Black Markets in Uzbekistan 97

7 Trains, Tombs, and Ovaries (Uzbekistan) 128

8 An Invitation to a Stranger's Wedding (Uzbekistan) 141

9 A Visit to a Secret Museum (Uzbekistan) 155

10 Camping Beside the Door to Hell (Turkmenistan) 167

11 Taken in Turkmenistan 181

12 How to Get out of Turkmenistan When You're out of Cash 196

13 Clubbing with Strangers from a Convenience Store in Kazakhstan 207

Eastern Europe 210

14 An Afternoon in Chernobyl (Ukraine) 221

15 Halloween in Your Lover's Homeland (Belarus) 250

16 Couchsurf the Baltics (Lithuania) 274

17 All Trains Lead to Russia 281

The Trans-Siberian Railway 313

18 Trans-Siberian Prelude: A Brief Stopover in China 315

19 A Month on the Trans-Siberian 320

20 Open Mic Night In Moscow 384

Acknowledgments 393

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Open Mic Night in Moscow: And Other Stories from My Search for Black Markets, Soviet Architecture, and Emotionally Unavailable Russian Men 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
JamezR 7 months ago
This book recounts the adventures of the author as she visits all of the countries that once made up the Soviet Union. The chapters vary from hilarious adventures to thoughtful musings on romance, yaks, bad breakups, moths, Genghis Kahn, and society’s expectations of women. She visits a museum in the middle of the desert where a collector secretly amassed the works of banned Soviet artists, camps beside a crater that has been burning for forty years, and becomes an expert on trading currency in black markets. The writing is extraordinary, reading this book was pure delight. We are right there with her travelling along the border with Afghanistan, riding the Trans-Siberian Railway, and everywhere else. As we travel, she calls our attention to the unique, the striking, and the thought provoking in scene after scene. The chapters on the Uzbek wedding, the secret museum, getting out of Turkmenistan when she had run out of money, and the visit to Chernobyl are exceptional high points in an excellent book by a gifted writer. I enjoyed this book so much that when I finished it, I started over and read it again.
ASalt 9 months ago
“Open Mic Night in Moscow” is a chronicle of stand-up comedian’s Audrey Murray’s trip to the former Soviet republics (inspired by her Russian ex-boyfriends). Most of the book is spent on countries like Uzbekistan/Kazhakastan/Tajikistan/Turkeministan (the more Asian parts of the former sprawling Soviet Union land mass), while the last third finishes off with the European republics (Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltics, and lastly Russia). Murray accompanies her travelogue with historical backgrounds about each country, to provide the reader with a fuller picture. The history is interspersed with the author’s travel adventures: almost getting kidnapped, attending weddings, running out of cash, contacting the useless embassy to come to her rescue, staying with random locals, exploring her ex-boyfriend’s place of birth, etc. The writing is simultaneously witty and informative, juxta positioning the author’s current experience being there with that of the Soviet past, from an outsider’s perspective. There’s also a lot fish-out-of-water type of moments. Overall, an entertaining yet informative travelogue.
Anonymous 10 months ago
... and good research for when Vlad moves Russia's capitol to Washington. Should you get this book? Duh (yes!). Who knew Valley Girls spoke Russian?! What a brave woman traveling alone...inspiring. The book sample is generous in length, and when it ends you will want to read more!