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The Amazing Anya Ulinich


Marx, Bird, Monster Anya Ulinich hide caption

toggle caption Anya Ulinich

OK, so not only does Anya Ulinich — our latest BPP Book Club author — amaze us because she wrote her fabulous novel, Petropolis, in her second language (her first is Russian). She also amazes us because fiction is her second art form. Her first? Painting. When she moved to Brooklyn, apartment living made things a little cramped for that medium, and so she began to write.

The result puts her in the tradition of Slavs who use the English language well enough to put native speakers to shame. Other examples? Vladimir Nabokov and Joseph Conrad (born Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski).

Check out more of Ulinich's paintings.

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Man, I do not know which is more cuddly, cookie monster or Karl Marx. Wait, do you think that's what she was going for? I'm a couple of chapters in and digging this book.

Sent by Tricia, NPR | 5:16 PM | 6-16-2008

After finishing part one of the book, I am taken with the irony developing, although, I find the underlying desperation of the characters a bit overwhelming. Is it me, or does it seem that the adults mentioned in the first part all wish they never had children? So far, a bleak read.

Sent by Jeff | 10:31 PM | 6-25-2008

I completely agree with Jeff. I am only on Chapter 6, but wow, how sad.....

Sent by Sherri | 5:45 PM | 6-26-2008

In finishing "Petropolis", one cannot escape the allusions to Salinger's famous protagonist that come pouring out of Sasha. ( At one point late in the novel, she even mentions Caulfield in an argument with her boyfriend) What makes the book suffer is the struggling of establishing pathos for characters that just never appears in the writing or the plot. The book leaves you feeling deflated and very unsympathetic towards...well any of the characters or any of the circumstances they are placed into. If there is tenderness or understanding to be found in the angst of the coming-of-age immigrant struggle genre(ala Chabon, Safran-Foer), its not found here.

Sent by Jeff | 6:17 PM | 6-27-2008

Have finally begun reading Petropolis, but may not finish by the time the discussion comes round. I can't seem to find the date for our monthly online chat anywhere. Am I blind?

Sent by Rebecc | 4:26 AM | 7-1-2008

@Rebecc Not sure where it got lost in the shuffle, but you're right, it's not in the blog entries. The date I have is July 9th. As always, even if you're not finished, feel free to chime in.

Sent by Sarah Goodyear | 7:35 AM | 7-1-2008

Oops, that's soon. I'll have to put my "American History from A Chicano Perspective" homework aside and start reading Petropolis right away!

Sent by Rebecca in Berlin | 6:18 PM | 7-1-2008