One More Year, By Sana Krasikov

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The Independent Culture

The brevity of the short-story form lends itself well to the fleeting connections at the core of these characters' lives. In these eight engaging short stories, the Ukraine-born author explores the tribulations of those who are fleeing or have fled Russia for a hoped-for better life in America; or those who are trying to return home.

But what are the qualities needed to endure an unfamiliar, often unwelcoming terrain? "To make it here, you have to want to be here," one character advises – easily said, trickier to put into practice. Sana Krasikov is adept at tracing the arc of characters' lives and fills these short spaces with large physical and psychological journeys: hopeful attempts to fit in and failed attempts to forge ahead in life with forged passports, leading only back to the selves they try to escape.

The mind rebels against the body and Krasikov's characters struggle to feel at home even in their own skins. Her prose is cool and clipped and most effective when it lets its guard down to offer lucid insights into love and work.