Book Review – Like Water and Other Stories by Olga Zilberbourg

What a treat to receive such a lovely review so close to my book’s second birthday!

Vishy's Blog

Like Water and Other Stories‘ is a collection of fifty two short stories by Olga Zilberbourg. That sounds like a lot of stories, but it doesn’t feel that way while reading the book, because the stories are of varied length – some of them are what used to be called short-shorts which run for a few pages, while others are just a paragraph long like a Lydia Davis story, something which is called micro fiction these days. There are some stories which are longer too.

There are two major types of stories in the book – the Russian stories and the American stories. Olga Zilberbourg is Russian-American and so she has given importance to both sides, though I would say that the book on the whole leans towards the Russian side. Many of the Russian stories explore the Russian-American experience. One of my favourites was a story…

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Review of Vesna Maric’s The President Shop

I’m happy to have written a book review for a new, to me, venue, a magazine called On the Premises, edited and published by the poet Ron Slate.

Vesna Maric emigrated to the UK in 1992, a refugee from Bosnia. A township in northern England funded her transportation. Sixteen at the time, having barely recovered from the shock of experiencing the first six months of the war, she enrolled in school where she soon recognized that “Yugoslavia had been a totalitarian state, that we had been indoctrinated, brainwashed, unfree, undemocratic” – unlike her new British neighbors who were “free of indoctrination” and democratic in practice. As she writes in an essay published in Granta, “The Fascist Within,” this information conflicted with the education she had received in Mostar where she had been a Pioneer and had been taught to regard England as a colonizing capitalist empire that teaches its citizens to value property over human life. How then to reconcile the two incompatible doctrines? What impressions of one’s world remain after we accept that the political history of any country, no matter how democratic it thinks of itself, is mainly a self-justifying lie?

https://www.ronslate.com/on-the-president-shop-a-novel-by-vesna-maric/

Please enjoy the review, and do buy the book!