Kerfe's Reviews > The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight

The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight by Gina Ochsner
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's review
Jul 03, 10

bookshelves: fiction
Read in July, 2010

Ochsner repeats what we already know about life in the former Soviet Union--it's grim, arbitrary and absurd. The different ethnicities coexist uneasily together on the edge of deprivation and despair.

But "The Russian Dreambook" transcends cliche through memorable characters and narrative. These are lives of parable, lived with gallows humor. Though the physical circumstances are dreary, often unbearable, the world is still filled with magic and dreams. There is no clarity in this Russia--every borderline, every act, every word, life itself, is fluid and unsettled, like the mud of the melting snow.

My one big disappointment was the ending. The mood changes too abruptly, too easily, to follow what has gone before in these characters' lives. While the rest of the book was filled with "color and flight"--sharp, mythical, truthful-- the final chapter fell to earth (literally) with neatly tied endings, convenient disappearances, and just rewards.
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