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Immigrant City

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  196 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Award-winning author David Bezmozgis’s first story collection in more than a decade, hailed by the Toronto Star as “intelligent, funny, unfailingly sympathetic”

In the title story, a father and his young daughter stumble into a bizarre version of his immigrant childhood. A mysterious tech conference brings a writer to Montreal, where he discovers new designs on the past in
ebook, 224 pages
Published March 12th 2019 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 2019)
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Average rating 3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  196 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
A very quick review. I loved the authors novel, “The Betrayers”...
I have much respect for David Bezmozgis as a writer. He’s extremely gifted.

But although these short stories were written well ... (a couple were haunting....and powerfully felt), most were dark ... I felt emotionally disconnected much of the time.

I could dig up a few outstanding excerpts I’ve highlighted if anyone is dying to see...
otherwise ... I’m just going to move on.

If you are Jewish and a die-hard committed reader
David Yoon
Oct 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Can I just say that I got a perverse joy every time David Bezmozgis talked of his home in Latvia thinking it as Latveria the home of Doctor Doom. Vaguely European vassals under the sway of an iron plated monarch with a penchant for villainous monologuing. Right - not helpful. God, I suck at reviewing short stories.

Listen the first, and titular, story just hooked me. It's just a tight, beautifully constructed, evocative piece about a man and his daughter buying a car door from a Somali in
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought of how one might explain to a four-year-old the raft of complicated, legitimate and paranoid reasons that militated against her wearing her gift in public, but the mere prospect of opening my mouth felt hideous and exhausting. I was also aware that I was a man with a car door who feared that Nora's hijab would make us weirdly conspicuous [on the subway]. In the end it didn't matter. In an immigrant city, a city of innumerable struggles and ambitions, a white man with a car door and a
Nothing about the title, cover, or description intrigued me, but I'm so glad I picked this up - these stories are BRILLIANT. (Adding a tally in the "marketing reading experience" column) ...more
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not entirely good but a really interesting collection. I don't know why Bezmozgis has not gotten "bigger" in the literary world. Is it because he won't leave Toronto? Has a lousy agent? Not good PR? Too ethnic? Not enough output? He should be up there with the likes of Zadie Smith and Franzen. He doesn't seem to have a big personality, like they do, but can match them sentence by sentence if not more. Listen to this:

"She remarked on my resemblance to my grandfather. Now that I'd crossed into my
Short stories that are darkly funny, depressive, hilarious, biting, smart, and urbane. Too bad they couldn’t give two Gillers this year.
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
Enid Wray
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Proviso: I loved his earlier collection, Natasha and Other Stories… so am predisposed to want to like this… And I am not disappointed in the least.

Indeed, in the opening story, the third paragraph, we get this: "… I called my wife, who was born in America and raised in mindless California abundance. For her family, scratching cars and misplacing wallets was like a hobby. I, on the other hand, had been an immigrant child, with all the heartache and superiority that conferred" (p3). Or, on page 6,
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very strange book. I am an immigrant grant but I couldn't relate to any of the stories. I got them but they didn't get me.
Daniel Kukwa
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian-lit
It's the darkest book David Bezmozgis has yet written; a much more melancholy, cynical...even depressing...series of stories, definitely looking at the dark side of a specific set of immigrant experiences. It's not an easy read, but it's very compelling...if bleak. As the son of Eastern European immigrants, there are many items across the stories in this collection that speak to much of what I myself have seen and experienced.
Mar 31, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
Sadly, DNF. I read all but the last story, but having forced myself that far I simply couldn't make myself go any further. It's a shame, because I'm a fan of short stories, but these just didn't hit the spot - for me. In none of them did I find a character I cared about, or a plot I cared about. I'm sure they were well-written, but they felt stolid, wooden, plodding. Sorry, Mr Bezmozgis.
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I always find it so tricky to rate short story collections. What if you really loved some stories, but strongly dislike others? Just an average? The way the whole book left you feeling? In any case, I really liked this whole thing, so it was an easy five stars.

Bezmozgis explores what it's like to be an immigrant in Canada. He deals with what it's like to be a newcomer in a strange land, what it's like to have tangled familial and emotional threads stretching back into other countries, and what
This book came through my library hold, so I gave it a try and it was meh for me! As a first-generation immigrant, I did not connect with any of his characters.
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love Bezmozgis' short stories depicting the lives of immigrants.
I enjoyed the story of the Russian boxer, but the rest didn't appeal to me.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A wonderful compilation of beautifully written a short story that really convey be a immigrant experience.
Gavin Stephenson-Jackman
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting window of the immigrant experience and how it has shaped not only individuals but also us as a nation of immigrants. As someone who is many generations beyond the immigration stories of my own family it brings into focus some of the issues that immigrants have always faced as well as struggles that are unique in our modern world. Issues like the transfer of academic credentials, requalification, and work experience requirements. These are issues that did not exists when my family ...more
Trish S
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed all these stories. My favourites were "Immigrant City," "A New Gravestone for an Old Grave,"and "Roman's Song." In these three I found the characters and their circumstances so interesting and absorbing that I wished each story would continue into a novel. I also loved his first collection of stories, "Natasha."
Alex Mulligan
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it
A reviewer below wrote they felt emotionally unconnected with some of characters, which perfectly sums up how I felt about some of the stories.

While some of the stories were beautiful, interesting, and even haunting, other stories were lacking.

I thought the book started very strong with the first Story about he father buying he car door. It was a beautifully written story and really set my hopes high. I found the middle stories were often slow, uneventful, and boring, with a couple exceptions.
Sherry Monger
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
These stories are rooted in Toronto but the people who inhabit them are citizens of the world. The writing is crisp and evocative, plaintive at times - a pleasure to soak up. I ended up feeling that we are all essentially the same as human beings - concerned for our families, going beyond culture and religion.
Nov 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed some stories more than others- had to look up a few words and enjoyed learning what words like Escher-like meant . Throughout the stories I came to appreciate how hard it was for some people that immigrated and how much their homeland continued to dominate their lives. Hope to pick up David’s earlier novels.
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strong writing, very evocative. Stories are largely about a middle-aged man (not the same man) who emigrated to Canada or the US from Latvia as a child and is dealing with parents or scoundrels or both. Sort of a mix of Mordecai Richler and Gary Shteyngart but gentler and less biting.
Oct 19, 2019 rated it liked it
These short stories are short listed for the Canadian Giller Prize for 2019.

I am a huge fan of Bezmozgis' writing and while I enjoyed these stories they didn't come up to the level of his first collection of short stories "Natasha and Other Stories".
Sep 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Short stories focused on the immigrant experience of many interesting fictional characters. I could feel a sense of honor and sacrifice in each story, those parts of life that must be given up or left in order to gain in other places that offer more hope. 3.5 stars
Judith Witzig
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Each story is a jewel. Watched the Giller awards and the author spoke of leaving his daughters a record of their heritage. I love the blending of Canadian options of each story with the Latvian and Russian portions. This book is well worth the read.
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read because it is longlisted for the Giller Prize.

A thoroughly enjoyable collection of short stories. I enjoyed this much more than The Betrayers (which if I remember, I did enjoy.)
Oct 11, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed all of these stories, but some of them felt like unfinished stories as opposed to short stories
Nov 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: canlit, short-story, 2019
The way immigrants who weren’t from former Soviet countries were presented was so suspect. Like specimens almost. The stories were also boring and any takeaways were banal and redundant.
I always enjoy Bezmozgis's colorful stories about the Russians of North York. The Russian Riviera stood out as an excellent story about a bouncer's tough choices.
Oct 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookclub
2019 Giller Finalist
An interesting selection of short stories with strange endings
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Born in Riga, Latvia, Bezmozgis moved to Canada when he was six. He attended McGill University and then received his MFA from USC's School of Cinema-Television. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, and Zoetrope. In 2010 he was chosen by The New Yorker as one of the best 20 writers under 40.
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