Saturday, November 24

Book Review: Natasha and Other Stories

Title: Natasha and Other Stories

Author: David Bezmozgis

Pages: 147

Summary: One of the most anticipated international debuts of 2004, David BezmozgisÂ's Natasha and Other Stories lives up to its buzz with numerous award distinctions and a sheaf of praise from reviewers and readers. These are stories that capture the immigrant experience with wit and deep sympathy, recalling the early work of Bernard Malamud and Philip Roth. An exquisitely crafted collection from a gifted young writer.

Roman Berman, Massage Therapist
The Second Strongest Man
An Animal to the Memory

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was a good collection of short stories, the author does a good job at highlighting the trials and hardships faced as an immigrant and growing up as a young child.  Fairly good writing, but I still felt like it was missing something to make it go from average to fantastic.

I don't think I have a favourite short story, which might be way I didn't love the book. Although, The Second Strongest Man, Tapka and Natasha were all well done and stand out as memorable reads for me. The stories are all interconnected, and it's a collection that is character driven, which sort of focuses on the growth and development of the characters, one in particular, as he grows up, facing the struggles as an immigrant in Toronto. I think one of the most interesting parts of the book, is which stories he recalls and how it influenced is life growing up. It was slow moving collection of short stories, but it focused on the characters and their development, which worked for the book. Not a lot happens, but at the same does, for character growth, a lot does happen - it's just internal. Which is one of the best aspects of this collection, is the authors focus on characterization, and their inner growth and development.

For this particular collection, I enjoyed some of the short stories, others I didn't. It didn't grip me, but I didn't dislike it either, so to sum it up, not a bad read.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it's not high on my list to read, but worth checking out if you like short story collections or fiction based on the immigration experience.

What to read next: Under this Unbroken Sky


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  2. This collection snapped me out of a reading funk several summers ago and I still think of it fondly for that; I actually recall reading it while walking down a particular street, and not properly putting away what I'd bought at the bakery when I got home, so that I could keep reading.

    1. It always nice when a book does that for you, I'm glad it was so good for you. Reading and walking down the street? I'm to clumsy for that I'd likely walk into a bus. :)