The collection of short stories in One More Year: Stories, by Sana Krasikov, concerns the former Soviet Union and its grip on individuals.
The characters in the stories have an innateness about them that binds them to their country in one fashion or another. From emigrants to America, and their expectations and manipulations, to those who are still living in the Soviet Union, to those who have chosen to return to their homeland, for varied reasons, the stories speak of women and their relationships with men.
Manipulations overflow within both sides of the spectrum and with both men and women.
The stories are bleak, some filled with physical abuse, and unappreciative men. The women use their wits in order to fulfill their own dreams, yet those very manipulations often backfire on them. The stories seemed a bit rote to me, as the essence of each story was similar. There was no connectedness between the characters within the varied stories. Each story was a separate look at lives lived, how assimilation affected those lives, and how survival was the primary factor of life.
From one end of the world to the other, Russia to America, and back again, the stories have a sameness. That was probably the author’s intention. There was no uniqueness within the social scheme, within society’s mode, of the Soviet Union. Many lives were lived under duress, and affected those individuals who lived those lives lived within the realm of non individuality.
I will say that the visuals were well done, with excellent word-imagery. The writing was strong as far as characterizations go. I felt that the struggles were vividly told, and applaud Sana Krasikov for that.
Overall, I felt there was something lacking within the pages of One More Year, despite the strong word-paintings. Deceit, abuse, lying, are all encompassing within the stories, and that did not have anything to do with my feelings. I believe I just expected more from the book, which is not the author’s fault, but my own preconceived expectations.
One More Year: Stories was an interesting and in depth psychological and social look into the minds of those whose homeland lies in the Soviet Union. Whose homeland lies within the hearts of those who emigrated.