Charles's Reviews > The Free World

The Free World by David Bezmozgis
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M 50x66
's review
Feb 25, 2012

really liked it
Read from February 20 to 25, 2012

A very compelling description of the experiences of Soviet Jews from Riga, Latvia who emigrate to "the free world". The Krasnansky family ends up in Italy, in the suburbs of Rome, awaiting the approval to immigrate to their final destination-Canada. Others set their sights on Australia, the US, or Israel. There is a significant criminal element in these Soviet emigres, of which Alec's brother Karl is one. Alec is a self-absorbed man who comes with his new wife Polina, but who often fantasizes about other women, and takes up briefly with a much younger woman Masha. His father Samuil is an old style rigid Communist who lived through the war, and had a good position in the Soviet hierarchy. He is very unhappy about leaving the USSR, and ultimately dies in Italy before the family's final destination. Karl gets involved in many illegal&criminal activities, while his brother Alec gets a job with the Jewish organizations which help the refugees. His mother Emma worries about everyone & everything. Other characters include Lyova who is suspended in Rome, having left a wife & son in Israel, hoping to get to America, and finally succeeding after a wait of several years. None of the characters is admirable or even likeable, but seem to be described honestly & convincingly, as are the trials & tribulations of these Soviet emigres.

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