Title: One More Year: Stories
Author: Sana Krasikov
Release Date: August 12, 2008
Genre: Short Stories
Challenge: Winter Reading Challenge, A to Z Challenge
Rating: 4 out of 5
From the dust jacket:
Every so often a new writer appears who is wiser than her years would suggest, whose flesh-and-blood characters embody more experience than a young writer could possible know. Sana Krasikov is one of those writers. Her first published story appeared in the New Yorker, her second in The Atlantic Monthly’s fiction issue. One More Year is her debut collection, made up of stories of people who hold out hope, despite the odds, that life will be kind to them.
The characters who populate Krasikov’s stories are mostly women–some are new to America; some still live in the former Soviet Union, in Georgia or Russia; and some have returned to Russia to find a country they barely recognize and people they no longer understand. Mothers leave children behind; children abandon their parents. Almost all of them look to love to repair their lives, and when love isn’t really there, they attempt to make do with relationships that substitute for love.
Like Jhumpa Lahiri and ZZ Packer, two writers whose fully-realized characters drive their fiction, Sana Krasikov is an exhilarating talent whose first collection puts her on the map with today’s most talented young authors.
One More Year: Stories by Sana Krasikov is a set of stories about Eastern Europeans. Most of the characters are living in the United States and trying to get by in this country that is so foreign to them. Each of the stories has a message; while I did have personal favorites, objectively speaking, they are all equally good. They are well-written and easy to read.
One thing that impressed me greatly about One More Year: Stories is the character development. Generally, I don’t read short stories very often, unless they are by a favorite author or they are a trademark of the author (such as David Sedaris). One of the main aspects I enjoy about books is witnessing character development and watching characters grow before the reader’s eyes. Short stories are too short to be able to have significant character development. However, somehow, Krasikov manages to pull it off. In each of her stories, the reader is immersed in the character; though we spend a very short time with each character, the reader gets to know him or her well and watches them grow. It’s quite the feat for a debut author; I look forward to seeing what she can do with characters in a novel.
However, there is one thing I didn’t like about One More Year: Stories: the lack of variation in the stories. Each of the stories is about betrayal, lies, not being appreciated, etc. By the end of the collection, I felt like each story was more of the same. I gave a short story collection a five star review not to long ago (In the Convent of Little Flowers by Indu Sundaresan [review]) and it was because each story was so different. All of the characters in the stories were Indian, yes, but some were in America, some were in India, some were old, some were young. Some of the stories ended happily, others were tragic; the point is that while the stories did have a common theme, they were each very different. I didn’t get that sense with One More Year: Stories. The stories were simply too similar in nature.
I do look forward to seeing what Sana Krasikov does in the future. She’s obviously a talented author with a lot of potential!