Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year
New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (Canada and Caribbean Region)
Winner of the Canadian Jewish Book Award, Fiction Category
Winner of the Toronto Book Award
Winner of the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize for Fiction
Winner of the Danuta Gleed Literary Award
Finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction
Finalist for CBC’s Canada Reads
Finalist for the Guardian First Book Award
Finalist for the Borders Books and Music 2004 Original Voices Award
Finalist for the LA Times Book Prize
The Bermans—Bella, Roman and their son, Mark—are Russian Jews who fled the Riga of Brezhnev for Toronto, the city of their dreams. Natasha and Other Stories is the chronicle of their search for a better life as they struggle to fit into a foreign urban landscape. Told through Mark’s eyes, these are stories filled with heart, verve and consequence. In “Tapka,” six-year-old Mark’s cocky game with a neighbour’s beloved dog turns into a tragi-comedy of life lessons learned. In the title story, a teenage Mark faces a stark, comical and ultimately searing introduction to first love at the experienced hands of his cousin, Natasha, an immigrant from the new Russia. And in “Minyan,” Mark and his grandfather watch as the death of an Odessan cab driver sets off a religious controversy among the residents of a Jewish old-people’s home.
Often funny and always wise, this much-celebrated collection captures the immigrant experience with striking wit and deep sympathy.
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 Amazon.ca 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.
“Scary good. . . . Not a line or note in the book rings false.”
“A generous, witty account of boyhood . . . rich [with] reverberating pathos [and] a sensualist’s delight in language. . . . Impressive.”
<em>New York Times Book Review</em>
“What sets [Bezmozgis] apart . . . is his quiet command of unadorned language, his wry humour and his keen understanding of the human heart.”
<em>Winnipeg Free Press</em>
“Bezmozgis’s pointed, emotionally resonant tales are so elegant they seem destined, like [Isaac] Babel’s for anthologies of classic fiction.”
<em>The Globe and Mail</em>
“Remarkable short stories. David Bezmogis [has] a gift for swift, sharp storytelling.”