A wry, moving and dark story about Russians adrift in New York by award-winning Ludmila Ultiskaya, hailed by Gary Shteyngart as 'one of the most important living writers'.
In a small apartment in New York, in the sweltering mid-summer heat, a group of Russian emigres gather around the sickbed of an artist named Alik.
Nina, his wife, is desperate for Alik to be baptised; Irina, his ex-lover, a circus acrobat turned lawyer, quietly pays the bills; elderly Maria dispenses magical herbs; and Maika, Irina's fifteen-year-old daughter, prepares to lose the only man to make her laugh.
As the visitors fuss and reminisce over Alik, in a corner of the crowded room the television shows the uprising outside the White House in Moscow and the tanks closing in on the city . . .
I loved it . . . I read it in one sitting and was constantly surprised
Dazzling . . . [An] engrossing study of a vivacious personality slipping away - THE TIMES
Ultiskaya aims for the lyrical and builds her canvas like one of Alik's abstract paintings: rich in detail, elusive in meaning, light in touch - MOSCOW TIMES
One of the most important living Russian writers