You guys, I so, so loved this book. So much so that I kept looking back at the author's photo and thinking, damn, she is just too young to pull this off. So much wisdom and insight into people. Someone on Goodreads noted that the author sees the world through old eyes. And I think that's true.
These are stories of people who are either not Americans or are new enough to the American experience and lifestyle that it's bewildering to them. An older, lonely divorced man meets a Ukrainian woman, and it's love at first sight--or is it? A young Israeli man, not exactly a superstar in the mandatory Israeli army experience, has his moment when his stellar older brother needs help, perhaps more help than he can offer. World War II and Cold War dissidents find their dreams, their hopes and goals, dissipating into a new world. There are chasms between new and old generations, between parents, children and grandchildren.
Which is all to say these are specific stories about specific people, and yet they're universal too. The characters are beautifully drawn, and not always likable, but author Molly Antopol makes us understand them and sympathize with them, even when their behavior leaves a lot to be desired. The story of a former Prague dissident who is terrified of the play his adult daughter has written about their family left me with tears in my eyes, even though said dissident has less than stellar reasons to be concerned.
Darn it, Molly Antopol, stop being so young and talented.