The Free World: A Novel

Paperback | March 27, 2012

byDavid Bezmozgis

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A "New York Times" Notable Book for 2011 A "Globe and Mail" Best Books of the Year 2011 Title

Summer, 1978. Brezhnev sits like a stone in the Kremlin, Israel and Egypt are inching towards peace, and in the bustling, polyglot streets of Rome, strange new creatures have appeared: Soviet Jews who have escaped to freedom through a crack in the Iron Curtain. Among the thousands who have landed in Italy to secure visas for new lives in the West are the members of the Krasnansky family -- three generations of Russian Jews.

There is Samuil, an old Communist and Red Army veteran, who reluctantly leaves the country to which he has dedicated himself body and soul; Karl, his elder son, a man eager to embrace the opportunities emigration affords; Alec, his younger son, a carefree playboy for whom life has always been a game; and Polina, Alec's new wife, who has risked the most by breaking with her old family to join this new one. Together, they will spend six months in Rome -- their way station and purgatory. They will immerse themselves in the carnival of emigration, in an Italy rife with love affairs and ruthless hustles, with dislocation and nostalgia, with the promise and peril of a new life. Through the unforgettable Krasnansky family, David Bezmozgis has created an intimate portrait of a tumultuous era.

Written in precise, musical prose, "The Free World "is a stunning debut novel, a heartfelt multigenerational saga of great historical scope and even greater human debth. Enlarging on the themes of aspiration and exile that infused his critically acclaimed first collection, "Natasha and Other Stories, The Free World "establishes Bezmozgis as one of our most mature and accomplished storytellers.

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From the Publisher

A "New York Times" Notable Book for 2011 A "Globe and Mail" Best Books of the Year 2011 TitleSummer, 1978. Brezhnev sits like a stone in the Kremlin, Israel and Egypt are inching towards peace, and in the bustling, polyglot streets of Rome, strange new creatures have appeared: Soviet Jews who have escaped to freedom through a crack in ...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 8.75 × 6.35 × 0.68 inPublished:March 27, 2012Publisher:PicadorLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1250002516

ISBN - 13:9781250002518

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Customer Reviews of The Free World: A Novel

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from A modern exodus This novel concerns a family of Russian Jews that have emigrated from Latvia to Italy in an attempt to get a green card to either Canada or the U.S. While they are awaiting decision from foreign authorities, they find themselves immersed in an assortment of zany predicaments within their small exiled community. Bezmozgis allows us insight into his main characters by introducing us to their past through reminisces throughout the book. The characters and situations reminded me of the novels by Yves Beauchemin (who is also highly recommended) with the interpersonal relationships taking precedence and the generous dollop of humourous episodes added in. A highly enjoyable and fast read for those looking for something different.
Date published: 2011-05-23