ALL Book Reviews The New York Times Book Review

Bilateral Commitments

The short stories in Sana Krasikov’s first collection unfold in two contemporary landscapes: the former Soviet Union and New York City and its suburbs. But an entirely unrelated setting might help explain why these stories work as well as they do: 17th-century India, where court artists created illuminated manuscripts of the ancient Hindu epic the “Ramayana.” Rather than freeze a single location or moment in one frame, each painting portrays several episodes, so the characters seem to exist in more than a single place and time all at once.

Many of the men and women in “One More Year” have the same complex quality of simultaneity. Emigrés from the former Soviet republics, they live in constant flashback. They also occupy multiple time zones, thinking, for example, how late it must be in Tbilisi, where a teenage son has been left behind, or Uzbekistan, where a husband has been deserted to consider an ultimatum — her or me. Like most modern migrants, the characters in these eight stories inhabit both past and present, homeland and new land.

Continue reading my review in The New York Times Book Review.