The Free World
Summer, 1978. Brezhnev sits like a stone in the Kremlin, Israel and Egypt are inching towards peace, and in the bustling, polyglot streets of Rome, strange new creatures have appeared: Soviet Jews who have escaped to freedom through a crack in the Iron Curtain. Among the thousands
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I was so bored with this. It’s about some people, not sure who was who, emigrating from the Soviet Union to the U.S. and Canada via Rome. It was so mundane.
It went something like this…..
Boris: Paulina ...more
Excellent development of the characters and their motivations.
Again I am liking a book about characters (some of them) that are not really admirable, or likable, but who deserve respect for their choices, their tenacity and strength nonetheless.
Bezmozgis elegant writing mixed with the darkest humor and poetic prose are unparalleled at this time...
The best editorial review was from Publishers Weekly:
"the book remains an assured, complex social novel who ...more
How many people do you know are real heroes? I bet not that many. So why do I want a book to have at least one or two characters that I admire? Well, the book gets kind of depressing otherwise. Why bother reading, all I have to do is turn on the television or look out my window to see the ordinary.
In the beginning I was very much enjoying the humor, then I got tired of and annoyed at the characters. I didn't learn really any history from this book either. I did learn one thing, how ...more
Samuel's story was very engaging and the fact that he adh ...more
I think what's most surprising is to move through the familiar setting of Rome from a different perspective. The traffic, the markets, the monuments: all feel different ...more
There are six adult Krasnanskys and two children. Battle-scarred Samuil, revolutionary and staunch communist, is the literal founder of the Krasnansky dyn ...more
The Soviet Jews that were released in the 1960s and 1970s could not travel directly to Israel or the US. Often, they stopped over in Vienna or Rome en route to the free world. The stop over cou ...more
There is a great deal in this book about religion and the experience of trying to immigrate to the US, Australia, or Canada which the main characters are trying to do and the ...more
Bezmozgis’s background as a short story writer is in...more
The novel is only indirectly about Russia: it’s about the Krasnansky family emigrating from the Soviet Union, and their sojourn in Rome. The story is set in the 1970s when, in the wake of the 1967 Six Day War, there was a sharp increase in Jewish emigration from the pro-Arab Soviet Un ...more
The patri ...more
I remove two stars for a few things. The story feels flimsy for a novel. It reads like a long short story where the setup is already understood and we experience the poignant character a ...more