Sana Krasikov has an impressive and complicated life sparsely laid out in just a few sentences on the back of her collection of short stories One More Year. Born in the Ukraine and raised in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia and the US, I'm sure Krasikov finds many inspirations for her writing in the people of her childhood.
I expected a greater variation in her characters, but each story seemed just a little different from the last, with even the characters' names and personalities overlapping just enough that readers aren't immediately sure whether it's the same character from the story before. The world Krasikov displays is a world full of distrust, mistrust, misanthropy, and other flaws that you'd expect to get you down. Somehow, though, Krasikov buoys her stories and characters with just enough likability that you're willing to trust her to make it worthwhile, to make her gritty and painfully imperfect characters redeemable.
I can't say whether I'm disappointed that the stories all felt so similar. Each main character seemed to be a woman who has had a sense of independence thrust upon her and she struggles with whether to embrace it or not. Most of the men are unfaithful and married to women who aren't in the story. Plenty of characters seem to feel a sense of entitlement. And yet, each story is different--each is separated from the other by a change in setting, a slight alteration of voice.
All of it created a completely foreign world to me, a world I was vastly uncomfortable lingering in. And, again, I haven't sorted out whether I liked that or not, but I do agree with many other reviewers: Krasikov is very good at her craft.
Thanks to Spiegel & Grau for sending me an ARC!