(From the publisher):
In this new book of fiction, Ken Kalfus plucks individual lives from the stew of a century of Russian history and serves them up in tales that range from hair-raising to comic to fabulous. The astonishing title story follows a doomed nuclear power plant worker as he hawks a most unusual package on the black market—a canister of weapons-grade plutonium (“Pu-239”). In “Orbit,” the first cosmonaut navigates several items not on the pre-flight checklist as he prepares to blaze the trail for the new communist society, “floating free of terrestrial compromise.” In “Budyonnovsk” a young man hopes desperately that the takeover of his town by Chechen rebels will somehow save his marriage. “Birobidzhdan” is the bittersweet story of a Jewish couple journeying to the Soviet Far East, where they intend to establish the modern world's first Jewish state. “Salt” is an economic fairytale, featuring kings, princesses, and swiftly melting currencies. The novella, “Peredelkino,” which closes the book, traces the fortunes of an editor/critic during the liberalizing 1960s who faces, among other things, the prospect of reviewing a trilogy of historical fiction by one “L. I. Breshnev.”
- Anzhelika, 13
Original title: Pu-239 and Other Russian Fantasies
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction→ Regional Interest
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