Wednesday 28 August 2013


Julya Rabinowich, 2008 [Tess Lewis, 2011]
(August 2013)

Odd little book, this. It’s a roman a clef, as far as I can tell, about Russian émigrés in Vienna towards the end of the cold war. As is now traditional for books by writers of Russian origin the prose is beautifully fluid, but the plotting is very clearly secondary. Narrative points of view and timescales jump all over the place and each new section demands considerable patience before you realize who is being referred to, and when. This is, possibly, a fairly accurate representation of the dislocation felt by an immigrant child and teenager, but it’s not all that engaging for the reader. Not a bad book, for sure, but if it were much longer I’m not sure I would have found the effort justified by the reward.

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