This warm and exuberantly comic debut tells the story of the Molochniks, Russian-Jewish immigrants in suburban Connecticut. Daughters wed, houses flood, cultures clash…and the past has a way of emerging at the most inconvenient moments (and in the strangest ways.) Equal parts Jane Austen and Gogol, The Cosmopolitans casts a sharp and sympathetic eye on the foibles and rewards of family and life in America.
ISBN: 978-1-60489-067-9 Trade paper $17.95 Sale: $10.77
ISBN: 978-1-60489-066-2 Library binding $28 Sale: $16.80
As a child, Nadia Kalman emigrated with her family from the former Soviet Union, and grew up in Stamford, Connecticut, a town locally famous for once having had the second-largest mall in the country. Her short stories have appeared in publications both large and small, but mostly small. She now lives in Brooklyn, with her soul, more or less.
From the Book:
They are none of them fans of tradition. Tradition is for
great-grandparents, and not even for theirs, who traded their
shtetls for the Universal Struggle.
They would categorically disagree with all of the above. They would tell me I am generalizing like a Marx. They would ask me why I don’t write about Samuel: he never attended a single computer class and look at him now, a home health aide and a cocaine addict, have you ever heard of a vocation and an addiction so mismatched? Why don’t I write about Pasha, who owned a wig store and was always offering us free front pieces, because “Pochemu i net?” why not? Who died butting her car into a highway divider, perhaps on purpose?
I say, it’s no exception to think you have an exemption. Then, bowing my head, I admit that when I say all, I mean most, and when I say most, I mean my youngest brother Osip’s family, the Molochniks of Stamford, Connecticut. Nothing to do with you, Valera Stash Sash Abram Yosha Genady Zoonia Manya Margarita Natalya Kiril Foma Galina Rachel. How could I write about you? How could I remember you, or you me?
Stamford has its North, nearer to Darien, home to formerly famous pro wrestlers and Gene Wilder; and its South, where we Molochniks live. However, Connecticut gives even its undistinguished residents ways to distinguish between ourselves. My brother’s family lives across from a gas station, but his wife can say they live in a Tudor house. I live in a low-income housing project, but I could say, were I trying to impress a direct mail campaigner, that I live in Augustine Manor, for that is what our ambitious developer, who installed a bidet in every toilet and a coat of arms below the “No Solicitation” sign, chose to call it.
I’ve climbed to the roof, free from my neighbors’ footfalls, from their warring cooking smells, ignoring my knees and a No Trespassing sign, to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune.