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Fiction General

Immigrant City

by (author) David Bezmozgis

Initial publish date
Mar 2019
General, Short Stories (single author), Cultural Heritage
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2019
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2020
    List Price

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Award-winning author David Bezmozgis’s first story collection in more than a decade, hailed by the Toronto Star as “intelligent, funny, unfailingly sympathetic”

In the title story, a father and his young daughter stumble into a bizarre version of his immigrant childhood. A mysterious tech conference brings a writer to Montreal, where he discovers new designs on the past in “How It Used to Be.” A grandfather’s Yiddish letters expose a love affair and a wartime secret in “Little Rooster.” In “Childhood,” Mark’s concern about his son’s phobias evokes a shameful incident from his own adolescence. In “Roman’s Song,” Roman’s desire to help a new immigrant brings him into contact with a sordid underworld. At his father’s request, Victor returns to Riga, the city of his birth, where his loyalties are tested by the man he might have been in “A New Gravestone for an Old Grave.” And, in the noir-inspired “The Russian Riviera,” Kostya leaves Russia to pursue a boxing career only to find himself working as a doorman in a garish nightclub in the Toronto suburbs.

In these deeply felt, slyly humorous stories, Bezmozgis pleads no special causes but presents immigrant characters with all their contradictions and complexities, their earnest and divided hearts.


About the author

David Bezmozgis moved from Latvia to Canada at the age of six. He studied English literature at McGill University and film at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Natasha and Other Stories, his debut collection, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (Canada and Caribbean Region), the Canadian Jewish Book Award and the Toronto Book Award; was a finalist for a Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and CBC’s Canada Reads; and has been made into a feature film. His first novel, The Free World, won the First Novel Award and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and the Trillium Book Award. His second novel, The Betrayers, won the National Jewish Book Award and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. In 2010, Bezmozgis was named one of The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 writers. He lives in Toronto.

David Bezmozgis' profile page


  • Unknown, Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year
  • Unknown, Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada
  • Unknown, National Jewish Book Award
  • Unknown, Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature
  • Unknown, CBC Best Book of the Year

Editorial Reviews

“[Bezmozgis] shows that his skills at creating perfect (and perfectly unsettling) worlds-within-worlds remain unparalleled. . . . Intelligent, funny, unfailingly sympathetic, Bezmozgis portrays lives constantly teetering between past and present, between worlds remembered and those that are all too real.” — Toronto Star

“David Bezmozgis’s latest book of short stories focuses heavily on moral complexity and immigrant experiences, highlighting the author’s uncanny ability to write sensitive, sympathetic prose.” — The Globe and Mail

“David Bezmozgis deepens his exploration of the fates and furies that beset Jewish immigrants as they struggle with the unwieldy claims of the past. Replete with the wry humour and finely hewn prose that characterized the author’s debut, Natasha and Other Stories, this new collection resonates with power and poignancy.” — Quill & Quire

Praise for Natasha and Other Stories:

“Bezmozgis’s pointed, emotionally resonant tales are so elegant they seem destined, like [Isaac] Babel’s for anthologies of classic fiction.” — The Globe and Mail

“Remarkable short stories. David Bezmogis [has] a gift for swift, sharp storytelling.” — National Post

“A generous, witty account of boyhood . . . rich [with] reverberating pathos [and] a sensualist’s delight in language. . . . Impressive.” — New York Times Book Review

“What sets [Bezmozgis] apart . . . is his quiet command of unadorned language, his wry humour and his keen understanding of the human heart.” — Winnipeg Free Press

“Scary good. . . . Not a line or note in the book rings false.” — Esquire

Praise for The Free World:

“A delicious drama of ambivalence and excitement. . . . The vigour of the book’s characters is achieved in the remarkable way Bezmozgis puts words together.” — Maclean's

“Bezmozgis makes good on the promise of his celebrated first book, Natasha and Other Stories (2004), in his spectacular first novel. Sharply funny and fast-paced, yet splendidly saturated with intriguing psychological nuance and caustic social commentary.” — Booklist (starred review)

“Bezmozgis displays an evenhanded verisimilitude in dealing with a wide variety of cold war attitudes. . . An assured, complex social novel whose relevance will be obvious to any reader genuinely curious about recent history, the limits of love, and the unexpected burdens that attend the arrival of freedom.” — Publishers Weekly

“Bezmozgis proves why he was recently proclaimed one of The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40; this is mellifluous, utterly captivating writing, and you’ll live with the Krasnansky family as if it were your own.” — Library Journal (starred review)

Praise for The Betrayers: —

“David Bezmozgis has a dazzling talent, is the possessor of that rarest of skills—the ability to create fiction which is intensely serious but which also vividly encompasses the absurdity of life.” — Scotiabank Giller Prize Jury

“Extraordinary.” — Barbara Gowdy

“The Betrayers is an endlessly fascinating exchange of philosophical views and a character study of great depth and nuance, made all the more effective because of its compact structure and swift pace of narrative.” — National Post

“Powerful, thought provoking [and] deftly plotted.” — Maclean's

“Bezmozgis is a remarkably polished and proficient writer. . . .unquestionably one of the star writers of his generation. He not only grapples with an important modern story, he does so with undeniable authenticity and intelligence.” — Quill & Quire

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