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The Natashas

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  186 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Béatrice, a solitary young jazz singer from a genteel Parisian suburb, meets a mysterious woman named Polina. Polina visits her at night and whispers in her ear: 'There are people who leave their bodies and their bodies go on living without them. These people are named Natasha.'

César, a lonely Mexican actor working in a call centre, receives the opportunity of a lifetime:
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 2016 by Serpent's Tail
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Average rating 3.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  186 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Michael Ferro
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My full review is now available at the Michigan Quarterly Review:

"Lyrical, brooding, and delightfully dreamlike, [THE NATASHAS] is a strange and ruthless journey into the ailing heart of humanity—and a bizarre peek into the mind of a brilliant new novelist."
Review originally published at Learn This Phrase.
Béatrice, a solitary young jazz singer from a genteel Parisian suburb, meets a mysterious woman named Polina. Polina visits her at night and whispers in her ear: 'There are people who leave their bodies and their bodies go on living without them. These people are named Natasha.' César, a lonely Mexican actor working in a call centre, receives the opportunity of a lifetime: a role as a serial killer on a French TV series. But as he prepares for the
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
To get the most out of this don't treat it like your average novel. Treat it as you would an art installation. Some bits are tense and breath-taking (César embracing his role as serial killer in a TV series), some parts are laughably pretentious, steeped in way too much symbolism. I think it has almost all of the ingredients to mesh together into a much more satisfying novel, but it doesn't. Because art. ...more

When you look at someone, it is very hard to believe that they might not be seeing you too...p58

When you sooner or later realize that this may generally be the case, alienation may have already have set you apart. The dislocation most likely stems from circumstances beyond your control; this may be acute and physical or it may be more subtle and easy to mistake for some kind of personality disorder. That would depend on how well you are able to keep your masks in place.

It is hard to put my fing
Lucy Somerhalder
Oct 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
A really interesting exploration of objectification. The Natashas looks at what it means to have your humanity stripped away, be it because you are too beautiful, too crippled, too homosexual, or just too darn female. I really enjoyed the writing (almost play-like, and very engaging), and I think Moskovich does a lovely job of creating very real characters who have retreated almost into nothingness in an attempt to avoid having the last vestiges of themselves stolen away.
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's easy to see why The Natashas has evoked comparisons to David Lynch. The characters inhabit a world that is dreamy, steamy and downright dangerous. The hardboiled cozies up with the supernatural in a world that's pretty much like ours but different in a way that's challenging to describe. I can't think of another modern work of fiction whose surrealism is as casual as it's relationship to realism. It's odd, but not jarringly so. Off-kilter in a way that's hard to pin down. Each character is ...more
Michael Green
Mar 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Beautifully written but with minimal narrative it is presumably meant to be a metaphor and have a message. If so, they were completely lost on me...
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have to start out by saying this Is a stranger book, it flows to the beat of its own drum. And quite frankly is not really like anything else I have had the privilege to read in quite some time. I really enjoy these kinds of books the deal with people we would not give a second look to should we pass them on the street. It takes you into a world the is so very different from our own. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of another book I read called Daughters of Air by Anca L. Szilagyi They both d ...more
A Moskovich novel is always a surreal song heard at the edge of a forest on a very cold night.
John Biscello
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You enter a dark, deserted warehouse on the waterfront. One that smells of cats and kerosene, and whose walls are covered with dusty calendars from bygone eras. Or perhaps you find yourself in the balmy catacombs of an arterial sanctuary. Or, fill-in-the-blank, and create a setting that corresponds with your own resonant sense of dislocation, the flickering rose-light of omen and mystery. Simply, you are there, delegate to enigma, compelled to explore, to scratch an existential itch, which began ...more
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Yelena Moskovich’s grueling novel, The Natashas, is, I’m afraid, a story that will only be read by people who already agree with its message. The people who probably need to hear about what this book has to say are unlikely to pick it up. This book tells the story of two people who learn to detach themselves and perform their “roles” according to what others want. Béatrice and César’s stories are attended by a Greek chorus of “Natashas,” women who have lost their original identities as they’ve b ...more
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-taste
Shades of Murakami and David Lynch (didn't come up with the Lynch comparison on my own, but seeing it in various other reviews I really do get that vibe also), yet a style that is still entirely her own. The most magical thing about The Natashas is the quality of Moskovich's descriptions. With English not being her first language, the turns of phrase are truly unique. An eerily captivating debut novel from a young author whose work I will definitely continue to follow. ...more
Angela Natividad
This book was like a fever dream. It merits a second read. I was quickly sucked in, though.
Oct 24, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dreams overlap with character's lives, as do fantasies, hallucinations, tv show plots, and the lives of strangers. Absurdity and human trafficking. Identity and objectification. This is a novel of life's incommensurables which says a lot almost before you can even notice.

I found Moskovich's first novel interesting, engaging, and even humorous. Sometimes literary experimentation can be insufferable, but in the right hands you can see what is truly possible with the form. It also makes me very cu
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
The Natashas caught my eye because it's my name-sake. Number one way NOT to select a book, although, I think it paid off(?).

Essentially, the book follows two characters on a journey of self discovery whilst overcoming doubt: the growing pains of an adult (injected with some surreality).

Somehow, I was captivated even though nothing really happened...perhaps I was holding out for an ending that tied the story up but even that didn't happen...
James Henry
Though this ended up not being my thing, it's nice to try something outside of my comfort zone. I didn't like this as a whole, but the individual stories of Béatrice and César were distinct, creepy, and disturbing enough to be intriguing on their own. ...more
Sandra Norsen
May 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
I abandoned this because the writing was just awful. Clunky, meaningless figurative language and boring characters I did not find compelled to follow or find out about. Tedious. Set it aside after a few aborted attempts.
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction, lib
Not at all sure what to make of this, poetic, sad and strange - maybe.
Jake Cooper
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dreamlike prose on identity and the dark sexuality of a woman's body, inescapable like a stage. The tease of "Murakami + Angela Carter" was spot on. ...more
Jake Scheidel
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
I fully did not understand what happened in this book.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: december-2017, kindle
The core idea of Yelena Moskovich's The Natashas appealed to me due to its peculiarity. The novel is a stylish one, both in terms of its prose and structure. It is both strange and violent. There is a lot going on here, but relatively little of this is demonstrated in the plot, or the character development. Whilst it is well written, I found it quite difficult to connect on any level with The Natashas. ...more
This book is fairly entertaining, but rather it is also rather bizarre. There are characters who make perfect sense and those who don’t really make that much sense and have more symbolic meaning perhaps. It is definitely easier to follow the book than some other complex books I have read recently eg The Female Man.

This could be a nice bookclub book because discussing the book with someone else may be helpful in understanding some of the symbolism.
This is the most boring book I've ever had the misfortune of laying my hands on in a bookshop. PKR1595/- ($16) and precious four hours gone down the drain. The concept of 'Natashas in a windowless room' is good, though it goes nowhere. At its core, the story is about a lesbian and a gay man (or a woman and man exploring their sexuality, despising it or coming to terms with it) - I don't know what they wanted and frankly don't care. Awful does not quite cover it.
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was intensely excited to read this book but it didn't live up to the cover or the blurb for me. I enjoy experimental writing but I felt like something was missing in the center.... the characters revolved around a void. When the threads all came together, it read to me like scenes were missing and the entire thing seemed like an outline of something that could have been more engaging. ...more
rated it really liked it
Jan 14, 2016
rated it it was ok
Aug 23, 2020
Grace Novelyn
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Feb 24, 2019
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Yelena Moskovich was born in 1984 in Ukraine (former USSR) and emigrated to the US with her family in 1991. After graduating with a degree in playwriting from Emerson College, Boston, she moved to Paris to study at the Lecoq School of Physical Theatre, and later for a Masters degree in Art, Philosophy and Aesthetics from Universite Paris 8. Her plays have been produced in the US, Vancouver, Paris, ...more

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