Tuesday, January 08, 2008

What We're Reading: Petropolis

I picked up Petropolis by Anya Ulinich mostly for its intriguing title and cover. Something about the sketchbook quality of the art reminded me of the animated Juno title sequence at the beginning of the film. Coincidentally, the novel is also a coming of age story about a teenage girl who becomes pregnant. While that isn't necessarily a huge selling point, this novel has done what few books have successfully done - it took precedence over the distracting glow of the TV. I could write something of the plot, and I should, but it's hard to even think of the details when what I'm swimming in is pure emotion. It was simply a gorgeous book on so many levels - in mastery and artistry of writing, in imagination, and in feeling. I've never experienced a character's life so completely that they truly seemed real. This is one which causes a definite ache - a desire to run to the bookstore, purchase a copy, and keep it forever. From a devout minimalist, this speaks volumes. While it doesn't necessary topple Madeleine is Sleeping from its place as my favorite book of all time, it certainly breathes down its neck in a solid second place.

Since I am so giddy and useless, this is the summary from the book: "Sasha Goldberg is the ultimate outsider: she's a chubby, biracial Jewish girl from the Siberian town of Asbestos 2. Her father takes off for the United States, and leaves Sasha to navigate adolescence in a bleak apartment block with her overbearing mother. At fourteen Sasha falls in love with an art school dropout who lives inside a concrete pipe in the town dump. Following her heart gets her into trouble at home, so she flees Russia as a mail-order and lands in suburban Arizona. There, Sasha abandons her Red Lobster-loving fiance and embarks on a misadventure-filled journey across America in search of her father."

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