Rated of 5
by Nancy L. (Denver, NC) Russia - Depressing
What a miserable life this book's characters live. I found the only redeeming things about this book were excellent wording and the idea that we are more than rich compared to these poor people. I can't imagine living like they live - working for no pay; living in atrocious conditions; not even toilet paper! And a lot of the book was about what toilet paper is needed for...
I didn't see any point in the descriptions of filthy living - beatings, bodily functions, etc. In fact, I felt as if the author were on drugs while writing the book.
Rated of 5
by Beth C. (Sioux Falls, SD) Magical Realism in Post-Soviet Russia
The characters in this unusual book by Gina Ochsner (Tanya, Olga, Yuri, Zoya, Azade, Mircha, and Vitek) all live in a aging and derelict apartment building that doesn't have functioning indoor toilets. They all must share a latrine that is located in the courtyard. Azade collects payment for the use of this facility and it is in the courtyard that most of their interactions occur. Mircha fell off the roof one day and his ghost also hangs out in this area as well as in the building because they haven't been able to give his body a suitable burial. Tanya, Yuri and Zoya work at a pseudo-museum where they make and display replicas of replicas and give tours of the displays.
When there is a chance for a grant from some rich Americans of Russian heritage, it throws the whole group into a tizzy.
For those who enjoy magical realism in fiction, this would likely be an enjoyable book.
Rated of 5
by Karen R. (Gilbert, AZ) The Russian Dreambook of Color & Flight
Oschner has a keenly filmic sensibility - visual details such as Yuri's helmet, the Red Star office and its pneumatic tubes, the museum and the snowy apartment complex would all make stark and striking backdrops. Though the pacing is at times slowed by extended ruminations (the chapters alternate between the characters) it's a worthy read for its combination of eccentric humor, absurdity, and depictions of a community strained by politics, opportunism, censorship and hardship. Tanya and Olga in particular stand out.
Rated of 5
by Heather K. (Brooklyn, NY) Surprisingly ... dismal. Also odoriferous.
I wanted to be swept away by this novel. A Russian author, a book of dreams, flight, and color! Sounded irresistible. But Russian Dreambook is a bleak read, thoroughly imbued with desperation; it's littered with dashed dreams, violence, and really objectionable odors. The author presents the reader with a string of irritating, disagreeable, violent, selfish, and/or weak characters. Tanya is the only bright star, and even she twinkles only faintly. The most interesting characters are the most annoying (I so wanted to slap Zoya, and yet I felt sorry for her). Frankly I felt sorry for all the characters, they were all so miserable. And I give the author credit -- she has amazing descriptive powers when it comes to stench. Even the ghost smells dreadful! This is just a disappointing read, and definitely not an author I'd recommend.
Judge rules unused Borders gift cards to be worthless(May 23 2013) Borders owes nothing to holders of roughly $210.5 million of gift cards that had not been used by the time the bookstore chain shut down, a Manhattan federal...