Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year
New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (Canada and Caribbean Region)
Winner of the Canadian Jewish Book Award, Fiction Category
Winner of the Toronto Book Award
Winner of the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize for Fiction
Winner of the Danuta Gleed Literary Award
Finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction
Finalist for CBC’s Canada Reads
Finalist for the Guardian First Book Award
Finalist for the Borders Books and Music 2004 Original Voices Award
Finalist for the LA Times Book Prize
The Bermans—Bella, Roman and their son, Mark—are Russian Jews who fled the Riga of Brezhnev for Toronto, the city of their dreams. Natasha and Other Stories is the chronicle of their search for a better life as they struggle to fit into a foreign urban landscape. Told through Mark’s eyes, these are stories filled with heart, verve and consequence. In “Tapka,” six-year-old Mark’s cocky game with a neighbour’s beloved dog turns into a tragi-comedy of life lessons learned. In the title story, a teenage Mark faces a stark, comical and ultimately searing introduction to first love at the experienced hands of his cousin, Natasha, an immigrant from the new Russia. And in “Minyan,” Mark and his grandfather watch as the death of an Odessan cab driver sets off a religious controversy among the residents of a Jewish old-people’s home.
Often funny and always wise, this much-celebrated collection captures the immigrant experience with striking wit and deep sympathy.