All Russians Love Birch Trees

All Russians Love Birch Trees


By (author) Olga Grjasnova

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  • Publisher: Other Press LLC
  • Format: Paperback | 330 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 208mm x 24mm | 400g
  • Publication date: 23 January 2014
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1590515846
  • ISBN 13: 9781590515846
  • Sales rank: 213,809

Product description

An award-winning debut novel about a quirky immigrant's journey through a multicultural, post-nationalist landscape Set in Frankfurt, "All Russians Love Birch Trees" follows a young immigrant named Masha. Fluent in five languages and able to get by in several others, Masha lives with her boyfriend, Elias. Her best friends are Muslims struggling to obtain residence permits, and her parents rarely leave the house except to compare gas prices. Masha has nearly completed her studies to become an interpreter, when suddenly Elias is hospitalized after a serious soccer injury and dies, forcing her to question a past that has haunted her for years. Olga Grjasnowa has a unique gift for seeing the funny side of even the most tragic situations. With cool irony, her debut novel tells the story of a headstrong young woman for whom the issue of origin and nationality is immaterial--her Jewish background has taught her she can survive anywhere. Yet Masha isn't equipped to deal with grief, and this all-too-normal shortcoming gives a particularly bittersweet quality to her adventures.

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Author information

Olga Grjasnowa was born in 1984 in Baku, Azerbaijan, grew up in the Caucasus, and has spent extended periods in Poland, Russia, and israel. She moved to Germany at the age of twelve and is a graduate of the German institute for Literature/Creative Writing in Leipzig. In 2010 she was awarded the Dramatist Prize of the Wiener Wortstatten for her debut play, "Mitfühlende Deutsche" (Compassionate Germans). She is currently studying dance science at the Berlin Free University. Eva Bacon studied German and English Literature at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich and has worked as an international literary scout. This is her first translation of a novel. She lives in Brooklyn.

Review quote

""All Russians Love Birch Trees" by Olga Grjasnowa is an astounding debut novel, both political and personal, sexual and full of grief. It captures beautifully and viscerally what it's like to lose your home due to traumatic events, what it's like to be neither a tourist nor a native no matter where you go looking for what's missing in you. To paraphrase Yevtushenko's famous line - borders are scars on the face of the planet. This book proves it, and how." --Ismet Prcic, author of "Shards, "a New York Times Notable Book of the Year "Olga Grjasnowa paints a searing portrait of young adulthood in this ambitious novel, as we follow her characters from Frankfurt to Jerusalem, from their haunted pasts and into their uncertain futures. Darkly funny and totally devastating, "All Russians Love Birch Trees" will haunt you." --Leigh Stein, author of "The Fallback Plan" "A thoughtful, melancholy study of loss." --"Kirkus" "[A] provocative first novel." --"O Magazine" "[Grjasnowa] reveals herself to be an expert chronicler of modern displacement and of the scars left by the wars that followed the Soviet Union's breakup." --"Publishers Weekly" "An extremely compelling read... just because you have an unusual background, doesn't mean you know how to tell a good story, and this is something that Grjasnowa certainly knows how to do...Grjasnowa has strong voice, which she has applied to a very ambitious and seemingly personal subject, to give us an admirable debut novel...a truly gifted writer...[who] has a very bright future ahead of her..."--"Yahoo! Voices" "We know about the immigrant perspective from an American perspective, but Grjasnowa gives us a fresh, important understanding from the European perspective...Grjasnowa tells her story effectively because she works through the personal, which results in a touching and thought-provoking debut novel."--"Library Journal" "Grjasnowa elegantly balances explanations and demonstrationsM