Author(s): David Bezmozgis
"The Free World" is the rapturously reviewed comic-tragic first novel from David Bezmozgis, a "New Yorker" '20 under 40' writer and author of "Natasha and Other Stories", whose work has been shortlisted for the "Guardian" First Book Award and the Giller Prize. "Terrific...Combines comic brilliance with a poignant portrait of a family trapped between two worlds". ("Sunday Times"). In the summer of 1978 the Krasnansky family - bickering, tired and confused - arrive in Rome. Alongside thousands of other Soviet Jewish refugees they await passage to a new home in the West. But escaping Communism is not so easy, especially when some of the Krasnanskys insist on bringing it with them. It is harder still when their American sponsor lets them down and they find they're stuck. What follows is a tragic yet comic tale of reckless brothers and long-suffering sisters, ailing parents and innocent children, of love affairs and criminal liaisons, of a wonderfully troubled family and a perpetually wandering people, and their epic search for a home..."Superb ...a major new talent". ("Independent"). "Wonderfully uplifting". ("The Times"). "Colourful, sharply funny and deeply moving".
("Financial Times"). "Alternately comic, sharp and sombre ...it's impossible not to be caught up in the tangled web of its unforgettable case". ("Daily Mail"). "A proper novel that bulges and pulses and thrums with life...I ended up loving it". ("Observer"). "David Bezmozgis projects a sense of ease that is very rare in first novels; he does everything well". ("Telegraph"). David Bezmozgis was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1973 and emigrated with his parents to Toronto in 1980. "The Free World" was picked as a 'Waterstone's 11' and has been shortlisted for the Giller Prize. His previous book, "Natasha and Other Stories", was shortlisted for the "Guardian" First Book Award, was a "New York Times" Notable Book of the year, won the Commonwealth Writer's Regional Prize for First Book and has been translated into over a dozen languages.
Superb ... a major new talent Independent Wonderfully uplifting The Times Terrific ... Combines comic brilliance with a poignant portrait of a family trapped between two worlds Sunday Times Colourful, sharply funny and deeply moving Financial Times Alternately comic, sharp and sombre ... it's impossible not to be caught up in the tangled web of its unforgettable case Daily Mail A proper novel that bulges and pulses and thrums with life ... I ended up loving it ... The principal tone is wry - mainly comedic, sometimes melancholic, occasionally tragic, ironical, playful, charming ... a rich and occasionally brilliant novel [that] is well worth reading Observer David Bezmozgis projects a sense of ease that is very rare in first novels; he does everything well Telegraph Self-assured, elegant and perceptive ... [his] taut 2004 debut collection Natasha and Other Stories suggested that he might well be of those authors' [Philip Roth and Leonard Michaels] caliber; The Free World goes a long way toward confirming this status The New York Times Heavy with the consciousness of time, the inevitability of crises. Bezmozgis has the knack of ending scenes, chapters, especially, at the perfect reverberant moment, plangent or ironic Guardian Delivered in an understated style which can accommodate serious subtext as well as ironical humour ... His portraits of the family circle are neatly rendered and compassionate ... There is no doubt Bezmozgis remains a writer worth monitoring Independent on Sunday A wonderful affirmation of the most novelish kinds of virtues ... Bezmozgis choreographs his work beautifully; with a drip-feed of revelations that humanises the characters and undercuts the reader's partial judgements on them ... A Chekhovian tragicomedy; part heartbreaking farce and part risible melancholy ... Like Gary Shteyngart, [Bezmozgis] is brilliantly able to use the former Cold War enemies as foils to each other. Each side is as bad as the other; and the humans are always caught in the middle of the muddle Scotsman Quietly astonishing fables of unmistakeable brilliance ... Breathtaking Observer on Natasha and other Stories With a maturity and control far beyond his years, Mr Bezmozgis has produced a captivating and impressive debut. The title story itself is one I will never forget -- Jeffrey Eugenides Passionately full of life ... his literary skills [are] remarkable -- James Wood London Review of Books He is being described as the new Philip Roth, the new Chekhov ... the hype may not be entirely exaggerated Guardian Scary good ... Not a line or note in the book rings false Esquire A stunning first collection, characterized by a painful honesty and clarity of vision ... Bezmozgis writes with compassion, quietly reminding us of the hidden beauty within human imperfection -- Julie Orringer The Believer
David Bezmozgis was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1973 and emigrated with his parents to Toronto in 1980. His previous book, Natasha and Other Stories, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, was a New York Times Notable Book of the year, won the Commonwealth Writer's Regional Prize for First Book and has been translated into over a dozen languages. In 2010, he was selected as one of the New Yorker's '20 Under 40', celebrating the twenty most promising fiction writers under the age of forty.