SHORTLISTED FOR THE DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE
The stories of Kseniya Melnik's debut collection are small-town miracles, each a miniature epic.
Their focus is Magadan, a town in the Northern Far East of Russia, and the unvisited lives of its inhabitants and emigrants - schoolchildren, doctors, teachers, mothers, daughters. Some characters span several stories. Some of their stories span decades and continents. The measure of their telling, though, is invariably the measure of everyday existence. Their dramas, too, are made of quotidian stuff, each life with its own sly or suppressed tragedies, and its brief, often unexpected ecstasies.
Kseniya Melnik's sensibility is sober and humorous; her stories are moving and funny. In their patient, deliberate unfolding - at once surprising and convincing - and in the fitness of their details - vital because they are suggestive - we sense, above all, an assurance that is dazzling.
Kseniya Melnik was born in Magadan in the northeast of Russia and immigrated to Alaska in 1998, at the age of fifteen. She earned an MFA from New York University and her work has appeared in Brooklyn Rail, Epoch, Prospect, Virginia Quarterly Review, and was selected for Granta's New Voices series. She lives in El Paso, Texas.