The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight
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In a crumbling apartment building in post-Soviet Russia, there's a ghost who won t keep quiet.
Mircha fell from the roof and was never properly buried, so he sticks around to heckle the living: his wife, Azade; Olga, a disillusioned translator/censor for a military newspaper; Yuri, an army veteran who always wears an aviator's helmet; and Tanya.
Tanya carries a notebook wherever she goes, recording her observations and her dreams of finding love and escaping her job at the All-Russia All-Cosmopolitan Museum, a place which holds a fantastic and terrible collection of art knockoffs created using the tools at hand, from foam to chewing gum, Popsicle sticks to tomato juice. When the museum's director hears of a mysterious American group seeking to fund art in Russia, it looks like she might get her chance at a better life, if she can only convince them of the collection's worth. Enlisting the help of Azade, Olga and even Mircha, Tanya scrambles to save her dreams and her neighbors, and along the way discovers that love may have been waiting in her own courtyard all along.
And so in Ochsner's fable-like, magical debut, we see the transcendence of imagination. As Colum McCann has said: " Ochsner] manages . . .to capture our sundry human moments and make raw and unforgettable music of them."
Praise For The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight…
"Gina Ochsner has enough imagination to cover Siberia." --Portland Mercury
"This book is poetry." --Salem Montly
"...keeping the reader from getting too comfortable are delightful, intriguing splashes of magical realism...Ochsner's fluid, poetic storytelling [conveys] dry wit and imaginative metaphors." --Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"Grant[s] a rare glimpse of buoyant inner worlds that flourish through the frost."
"Gina Oschner's novel is enchanting, at once playful and poignant. With her marvelously light touch, she takes the rubble of post-Soviet Russia and turns it into gold."
--Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, author of Ms. Hempel Chronicles and Madeleine Is Sleeping
"The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight is a hilariously absurdist and deeply resonant debut novel. Gina Ochsner transforms ordinary lives into something magical and wise and glintingly beautiful." -- Irina Reyn, author of What Happened to Anna K
“Heartbreaking and funny and deeply moving, this beautifully wrought novel matters from first word to last. This is an absolutely original book, and Gina Ochsner is like no other writer I know at work today. She is at once a fabulist and a realist, a romantic and a cold-eyed recorder of the ways we rationalize our most intimate mistakes. Her love of both the written word and of humanity at large shine through on every page, and I couldn't stop reading this tale of the living and the dead, the loved and the unloved, the powerful and the oppressed. This is magical stuff -- The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight is whimsical, ghost-riven, satirical and darkly, richly, wonderfully redeeming.”
--Bret Lott, author of Jewel and A Song I Knew by Heart
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780618563739, 384pp.
Publication Date: February 1, 2010