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About the Book

About the Book


In her stellar debut novel, Russian émigré Anya Ulinich paints a vivid, beguiling, and funny portrait of post-Soviet Russia and turn-of-the-century America.

Growing up in a Dickensian apartment block in a bleak Siberian town, Asbestos 2, Sasha Goldberg has more than one strike against her in the blond, blue-eyed Russian north: chubby, biracial, and Jewish, she consistently disappoints her overbearing mother with academic and extracurricular failures. Mrs. Goldberg is on a feverish quest to shape Sasha into a proper “member of the intelligentsia,” but Sasha finds love in the arms of an art school dropout living in the town dump, and Mrs. Goldberg’s plans for Sasha unravel.

Petropolis is a richly layered and luminous emotional epic in the mode of great Russian novels. From perpetually gray Asbestos 2 to the shocking green lawns of Paradise Valley, Arizona, where Sasha lands as a mail-order bride; from wealthy suburban Chicago to the streets of Brooklyn, New York, Petropolis takes on motherhood, religion, the promise of love, and cross-cultural perplexity, all set against Sasha’s harrowing yet hilarious search for a place to call home. The result is a magnificent work that will stand alongside the likes of Gary Shteyngart’s The Russian Debutante’s Handbook and Gish Jen’s Typical American in scope, immediacy, and sheer talent.

by Anya Ulinich

  • Publication Date: March 25, 2008
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
  • ISBN-10: 0143113011
  • ISBN-13: 9780143113010