From Gary Shteyngart to Keith Gessen, young Russian novelists are all the rage. This summer, however, we're particularly excited about two very different debuts about the immigrant experience--one fiction, one non--from Brooklyn-based women writers.
We've long loved singer-songwriter Alina Simone for her haunting vocals and raw, emotional lyrics, and now she's become a force on the literary scene as well. Her autobiographical book of essays, You Must Go and Win, follows Simone from her native Ukraine, to her stateside childhood, to her entrée into the Brooklyn indie-rock scene. Simone's sharp wit and unusual past give this musical memoir just enough punch to stand out from the pack.
On the fiction side, it's difficult not to be charmed by Haley Tanner's Vaclav and Lena, a quirky but utterly delightful story of two Russian children growing up in Brighton Beach and beating seemingly impossible odds to be together. Tanner's authentic voice is particularly impressive given that she is not herself an immigrant, and her warm, inventive storytelling makes her one of our favorite new writers to watch.