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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Reader's Diary #207- David Bezmozgis: Natasha and Other Stories (up to "The Second Strongest Man")

With Canada Reads just over two months away, my awesome wife gave me a headstart with the readings. I had expected some of the titles for Christmas, but last week she surprised me with all 5 for my birthday.

So far, I'm just two short stories into Natasha and Other Stories. Both are pleasant reads with a nostalgia that rings so true I have to keep reminding myself that they're fiction, not memoirs. Both "Tapka" and "Roman Berman, Massage Therapist" deal with life lessons and remind me somewhat of The Wonder Years. However, they're from a Jewish point of view, so imagine that Paul had a spin off.

"Tapka" is definitely the superior of the two stories. There's just so much buried under this story, cleverly disguised as simple. On the surface it looks like a story about a mishap that tears apart a friendship almost as quickly as it began, yet underneath it there are complex themes of miscommunication and values.

On an off topic, why am I being haunted by Babel? First the Brad Pitt flick plays here. Then it comes up as a character's name in Lighthousekeeping. Next it's referenced in Riffs. And now in the cover blurbs of Natasha, there is a quote from Isaac Babel. Maybe someone's trying to tell me something...

1 comment:

John Mutford said...

I just listened to Sufjan Stevens' C'mon Let's Boogie To The Elf Dance and there's yet another "Babel" reference- WHY?????