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September 03, 2008

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"Actually, that “little Russian-Jewish voice” isn’t so little in What Happened to Anna K. Nor has it been little in the works of other recent Russian-American women writers — I’m thinking of Anya Ulinich’s Petropolis and Ellen Litman’s The Last Chicken in America. In your novel, Anna tries to isolate herself from the Rego Park community in which she’s grown up, even as she seems to be struggling to find her place within it, or at least a space that she can, on occasion, return to. With this novel, you join Lara Vapnyar and David Bezmozgis in portraying Russian Jews tangled in the curious mix of abundance and emptiness that characterizes American life — Anna leaves her son and the financial security of her Upper East Side marriage to Alex for a life with David, a Lower East Side academic and would-be novelist. This reversal of fortune causes no small tension between Anna and David, and the immigration aspect of the story really sets What Happened to Anna K. apart from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Can you discuss this?"

Blimey. I hope you never interview me. You'd know my work and its connections better than I did! :)

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