** Panic in a Suitcase by Yelena Akhtiorskaya


Panic in a Suitcase starts with a beautifully messy, understated, funny story of  a family of Ukrainian immigrants in New York. While the parents and grandparents strive to find jobs matching their prior occupations and to integrate into their new country, at least to some extent, the uncle stubbornly refuses to leave Odessa but has to pretend otherwise, while the young daughter observes and narrates. A great success.

Alas, part two follows the same characters a decade later, with the uncle still in Odessa but now a famous poet, and the story becomes hackneyed and predictable, albeit with the same musing asides and dry style as part 1. Consider stopping half way!

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