By Sana Krasikov
One More Year, a debut collection of short stories by Sana Krasikov, really surprised me. Due to inherent space limitation in the short story format, it can be quite difficult to build fully-realized human characters. So as I read I was quite delighted by the vast variety of personalities and individual quirks of Krasiknov’s cast. With a delicate prose and crisp dialogue, grandmothers, fathers, husbands and children are brought to active, animated life.
Most of the people populating the stories are Russian immigrants living in America. Some have been here a long time, escaping during the rise of Communism; others are new and have only been in the United States a few years. Frequently, characters fly back and forth between America and the “mother country” as relationships shatter or kindle anew. Krasikov is drawing on her own experiences; she was born in Ukraine while there was still a Soviet Republic and now lives in New York City.
These aren’t happy fairy tale stories with happy endings. There’s no magic, just gritty realism. Yet, despite my preference for fantasy I really dig this book. The situations for most of these people are far from ideal, or even desirable. Many of the women have cheating lovers or husbands, who may have a second wife “back home.” One woman works as a caregiver for a wealthy woman in New York City while her son lives on the other side of the world; on his rare visits he doesn’t seem happy to see her, only interested in finding out what she can buy for him. An illegal immigrant is afraid to go out in case he is carded, so he lives an empty life going only to work and home. Others get trapped in dead-end jobs because their employer keeps their paperwork inaccessible. These are the real tales of immigrants in the US, recorded by a talented new author.
Buy the book on Amazon.com, or add it to your wishlist.