Like Water & Other Stories

My debut English-language book, LIKE WATER AND OTHER STORIES, is available from WTAW Press.

With settings that range from the Cuban Missile Crisis and Soviet-era Perestroika to present-day San Francisco, LIKE WATER AND OTHER STORIES, the first English-language collection from Leningrad-born author Olga Zilberbourg, looks at family and childrearing in ways both unsettling and tender, and characters who grapple with complicated legacies—of state, parentage, displacement, and identity. LIKE WATER AND OTHER STORIES is a unique portrayal of motherhood, of immigration and adaptation, and an inside account of life in the Soviet Union and its dissolution.

“…a book of succinct abundance, dazzling in its particulars, expansive in its scope,” Anthony Marra

These stories “cast a clear, illuminating light on topics ranging from motherhood, the workplace, birth, death, ambition, and immigration, all explored through exquisitely wrought characters in Russia and the United States…a writer to read right now,” Karen E. Bender

“Olga’s writing is a wonderful example of how vocabulary and experiences broaden when two cultures and languages coexist in one person’s brain,” Lisa C. Hayden

“Zilberbourg explores a real range of tales and right from the start the stories are stunning,” Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings

“In both content and form, Zilberbourg’s Like Water expands the boundaries of Russian-American fiction, showing new ways of writing immigrant lives,” Yelena Furman in NYU Jordan Center review

“In the remarkable [book], Zilberbourg offers a collection of shorts that call us to query our sense of time and place, mortality, and most especially identity,” Alicia J. Rouverol in The Manchester Review

“But whether it is a woman’s Russian family pressuring her to have children or her American girlfriend not understanding the importance of her Russian community, the stories always avoid explicit moralizing, instead proposing an attitude of resigned tolerance for inevitable tensions. This balance permits Zilberbourg to show the hilarity of these cultural clashes without reducing the characters to punchlines,” Anna Kasradze in The Moscow Times

“Zilberbourg often gets at the raw truth of an emotionally complicated experience by changing the rules of reality and shifting into magical realism,” Jen Hinst-White in The Common

“The narrators of these stories are not identified. They are not necessarily the same person, but the events of stories often overlap to give a sense of continuity and understanding that, even if the narrator changes from story to story, their lives are closely linked and their experiences echo those of the narrator in “Like Water,” tracing a lineage of change back to 1992,” Jaye Viner in Necessary Fiction

“Plots center on identity reconstruction after life changes: moving to a different country, becoming a parent, or publishing a story. Zilberbourg portrays the truth and consequences of paths not taken,” Lanie Tankard in World Literature Today

“Zilberbourg relentlessly confronts her characters with the lives they could have had,” Linda Kinstler in Los Angeles Review of Books

*** LIKE WATER AND OTHER STORIES has been named a finalist in 2019 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award

*** LIKE WATER AND OTHER STORIES has earned an Honorable Mention from the Eric Hoffer Book Awards, in the Short Fiction and Anthology category

Additional Links:

Her Turn: The English and Russian Stories of Olga Zilberbourg, AKA Olga Grenets, an essay for Asymptote Journal, by Ian Ross Singleton

Interview with Michael Tusa for WRBH Reading Radio

Conversations Between Friends, Nancy Au and Olga Zilberbourg in CRAFT

Epiphany blog interview by Odette Heideman

Rain Taxi review by Alta Ifland review by Louis Train

Podcast interview for New Books Network by Jennifer Eremeeva

Interview for Write or Die Tribe by Sam Cohen

Barrelhouse review by Alissa Gillon

Femmeliterate review by Misty Urban

Interview for Bloom by Maddie King

I recently talked to Ilana Masad of The Other Stories podcast about my book. Listen to me read two stories and answer a few questions here.