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A.J. Perry

Twelve Stories of Russia: A Novel, I guess

a novel, 448 pages

Twelve Stories of Russia: A Novel, I guess is about a young American who moves to Moscow in 1991, knowing next to nothing about the country. In his discovery of Russia he is witness to an unsuccessful coup, an even-less-successful rebellion, rampant inflation, unprecedented social, economic and political change, mafia infighting, and a host of other phenomena that characterize this period.
He moves among ordinary new Russians, meeting all sorts of curious characters, learning unsuccessfully to drink vodka and discussing English grammar and the other stumbling blocs of Western culture with his Russian friends. "Why is it," his Russian friend asks, "that you Americans smile so much?"
His misconceptions about Russia land him in funny and sometimes dangerous situations while at the same time allowing him to have a good look at the underside of the various social strata.
Twelve Stories is an intelligent novel about contemporary Russia. For readers seeking an alternative to the "Russia-as-menace" genre, it offers observations on real life that are both thought-provoking and true, providing a fresh and thoughtful perspective on Russian culture.

The author, a graduate of NU, is a young writer and translator who lives in Moscow with his Russian wife. This is his first novel.

"This book captures spectacularly the weirdness that is Russia for a foreigner... Some scenes were funny enough to make me fall off a chair." — ANDREW WACHTEL

"Twelve Stories successfully combines the surrealistic ebullience of Venedikt Yerofeev with a meticulous linguistic restraint. Witty, true, and densely populated, it deserves to find an audience on both sides of the language barrier." — ALEXANDER GENIS

"In Twelve Stories of Russia: A Novel, I guess sparks fly as Russian and American mentalities collide. This portrait of a young American's experiences in Moscow is unique for its unusual vantage point: not from the oft-trodden front entrance to the Metropole, but from the rear of a lonely potato line in the early 1990's. Comical yet deep observations on Russian reality make it a real page-turner." — LUDMILA ULITSKAYA

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