MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Panic in a Suitcase: Book summary and reviews of Panic in a Suitcase by Yelena Akhtiorskaya

Panic in a Suitcase

by Yelena Akhtiorskaya

Panic in a Suitcase by Yelena Akhtiorskaya X
Panic in a Suitcase by Yelena Akhtiorskaya
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Jul 2014
    320 pages
    Genre: Novels

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

A dazzling debut novel about a Russian immigrant family living in Brooklyn and their struggle to learn the new rules of the American Dream.

In this account of two decades in the life of an immigrant household, the fall of communism and the rise of globalization are artfully reflected in the experience of a single family. Ironies, subtle and glaring, are revealed: the Nasmertovs left Odessa for Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, with a huge sense of finality, only to find that the divide between the old world and the new is not nearly as clear-cut as they thought. The dissolution of the Soviet Union makes returning just a matter of a plane ticket, and the Russian-owned shops in their adopted neighborhood stock even the most obscure comforts of home.

Pursuing the American Dream once meant giving up everything, but does the dream still work if the past is always within reach? If the Nasmertov parents can afford only to look forward, learning the rules of aspiration, the family's youngest, Frida, can only look back.

In striking, arresting prose loaded with fresh and inventive turns of phrase, Yelena Akhtiorskaya has written the first great novel of Brighton Beach: a searing portrait of hope and ambition, and a profound exploration of the power and limits of language itself, its ability to make connections across cultures and generations.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Marvelous…A touching and darkly funny first novel that is sure to be adored by readers everywhere. Very highly recommended." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. Akhtiorskaya's sideways humor allows rays of genuine emotion to filter through the social and domestic satire." – Kirkus

"The prose is finely crafted, but this is not a tale of relatable people. Instead, Akhtiorskaya excels at humorous, slightly overstated character sketches, making each person uniquely absurd." - Publishers Weekly

"A mercilessly funny debut novel about a Russian family washing up, and out, in America. Yelena Akhtiorskaya seems helplessly bound to deliver the truth, in perfect prose, about our families, wherever they are from. She is a tremendously good new writer." - Ben Marcus, author of Leaving the Sea and The Flame Alphabet

"This is not only a wise, funny novel; it feels like the beginning of a thrilling career." - Chad Harbach, author of The Art of Fielding

"Sentence after sentence, Panic in a Suitcase is infused with humor and poetry, as Akhtiorskaya's characters emerge beautiful and hilarious and splendorous in all their failings... a humbling, astonishing debut." - Aleksandar Hemon

"I think Yelena Akhtiorskaya is a genius. What she manages to do, linguistically and emotionally, in the span of a single sentence, is astonishing." - Keith Gessen, author of All the Sad Young Literary Men

"Yelena Akhtiorskaya creates a beautifully precise and vibrant world populated by touching, funny, unforgettable characters. A true joy to read." - Lara Vapnyar, author of Memoirs of a Muse

The information about Panic in a Suitcase shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Yelena Akhtiorskaya

Yelena Akhtiorskaya was born in Odessa in 1985 and raised in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. She holds an MFA from Columbia University. She is the recipient of a Posen Fellowship in Fiction, and her writing has appeared in n+1, The New Republic, Triple Canopy, and elsewhere. She lives in New York City.

More Author Information

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more novels...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Delayed Rays of a Star
    by Amanda Lee Koe
    Amanda Lee Koe's Delayed Rays of a Star begins with a late-1920s photo of three women at a party in ...
  • Book Jacket: Sleepovers
    Sleepovers
    by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips
    In Ashleigh Bryant Phillips' debut story collection, Sleepovers, it can be difficult to keep tabs on...
  • Book Jacket
    The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    by Christy Lefteri
    In Christy Lefteri's sophomore novel, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, the author introduces readers to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Cantoras
    by Carolina De Robertis
    Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis follows five characters who share a house, troubles, joys and parts...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Voyage of the Morning Light
    by Marina Endicott

    A sweeping novel set aboard a merchant ship sailing through the South Pacific in 1912.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Beekeeper of Aleppo
by Christy Lefteri

This moving, intimate, and beautifully written novel puts human faces on the Syrian war.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Of Bears and Ballots

An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics

A charming account of holding local office with an entertaining, quirky cast of characters.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A S Louder T W

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.