This is a crazy adventure of the imagination, both hilarious and occasionally puzzling. With it, Ochsner joins a small but inspiring band of US-based (she lives in Oregon) writers exploring the post-Soviet landscape. This book has echoes of Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated, Gary Shteyngart's laugh-out-loud Absurdistan and Olga Grushin's more romantic The Dream Life of Sukhanov.
Viv Groskop, Observer
Ochsner's first achievement is to make us feel intensely complicit in the tragicomedy of her characters ... Her second feat is the prose, which sparkles with wit and originality at every turn, while the characters' inner worlds glow with humanity ... Ochsner has created a heartbreaking comic masterpiece that already has a place in the literature of protest.
Kapka Kassabova, Guardian
From Gogol to Bulgakov, Russian literature has long deployed surrealism as a means of confronting the absurdity of Russia's governments ... Oschner paints a vibrant portrait of a community with featherweight beauty and gentle humour.
Claire Allfree, Metro
From the Same Author
People I Wanted To Be
From the Russian couple haunted by the ghosts of children they never had, to the man who buys a mynah bird in the hope of saving his marriage, these are people who feel that their lives are loose skins they’ve not quite grown into and perhaps won’t ever fit. The world they inhabit is one of half-forgotten dreams and unwhispered yearning. And yet each of them is about to embark upon a journey in which inspiration is found in the most unlikely places, reality is catapulted to the edge of the possible, and even the blackest despair can be illuminated by small, improbable miracles.