David Bezmozgis

Books Amanda Urban, +1 212 556 5600 Email Amanda Urban

Natasha and Other Stories

book | Fiction | 2004
US & Canada → Farrar, Straus & Giroux Inc
UK & Comm → Jonathan Cape
Few readers had heard of David Bezmozgis before last May, when Harper's, Zoetrope, and The New Yorker all printed stories from his forthcoming collection. In the space of a few weeks, these magazines introduced America to the Bermans--Bella and Roman and their son, Mark--Russian Jews who have fled the Riga of Brezhnev for Toronto, the city of their dreams.

Told through Mark's eyes, and spanning the last twenty-three years, Natasha brings the Bermans and the Russian-Jewish enclaves of Toronto to life in stories full of big, desperate, utterly believable consequence. In "Tapka" six-year-old Mark's first experiments in English bring ruin and near tragedy to the neighbors upstairs. In "Roman Berman, Massage Therapist," Roman and Bella stake all their hopes for Roman's business on their first, humiliating dinner in a North American home. Later, in the title story, a stark, funny anatomy of first love, we witness Mark's sexual awakening at the hands of his fourteen-year-old cousin, a new immigrant from the New Russia. In "Minyan," Mark and his grandfather watch as the death of a tough old Odessan cabdriver sets off a religious controversy among the poor residents of a Jewish old-folks' home.

The stories in Natasha capture the immigrant experience with a serious wit as compelling as the work of Jhumpa Lahiri, Nathan Englander, or Adam Haslett. At the same time, their evocation of boyhood and youth, and the battle for selfhood in a passionately loving Jewish family, recalls the first published stories of Bernard Malamud, Harold Brodkey, Leonard Michaels, and Philip Roth.

Audio Rights


The audio rights are handled by Liz Farrell.

Daisy Meyrick manages the translation rights for Natasha and Other Stories


Translation Rights Sold

Chinese Simple
Mainland China
Yilin Press
Uitgeverij De Bezige Bij
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Ugo Guanda Editore
Samizdat B92
Natasha and Other Stories

These stories aren’t just superbly crafted investigations of a particular people and place, but profound illuminations of what it means to grow up in an uncertain, ever-changing world. Dan Cryer
Full Review

A stunning first collection, characterized by a painful honesty and clarity of vision.... Like Gogol, Bezmozgis is acutely aware of his characters’ shortcomings; as Gogol does, Bezmozgis writes with compassion, quietly reminding us of the hidden beauty within human imperfection. Julie Orringer
The Believer

Dazzling, hilarious, and hugely compassionate narratives [written with] freshness and precision... Francine Prose
Full Review

These complex, evocative stories herald the arrival of a significant new voice.
Publishers Weekly
Full Review

This small treasure trove of characters will stay in readers' minds for a long time.
Library Journal
Full Review

Flinty and intriguing, Bezmozgis' well-made stories play well in conjunction with Aleksandar Hemon's The Question of Bruno. Donna Seaman
Full Review

Extraordinary...[Recalls] the work of Babel, Roth, Saul Bellow, and so many others. Daniel Schifrin
The Los Angeles Times
Full Review

An authority one usually finds only in more seasoned writers. Meghan O’Rourke
The New York Times Book Review

Scary good... Not a line or note in the book rings false.

An effervescent debut... A familiar tale of dislocation and assimilation with enough humor, honesty, and courage to make it new again... If the last page of ‘Tapka’ doesn’t stop your heart, maybe it was never really beating.
O magazine

Amanda Urban
+1 212 556 5600
Email Amanda Urban
Translation Rights
Daisy Meyrick
+44 (0)20 7393 4425
Email Daisy Meyrick