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Panic in a Suitcase

A Novel

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


“A virtuosic debut [and] a wry look at immigrant life in the global age.” —Vogue
Having left Odessa for Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, with a sense of finality, the Nasmertov family has discovered that the divide between the old world and the new is not nearly as clear-cut as they had imagined. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, returning is just a matter of a plane ticket, and the Russian-owned shops in their adopted neighborhood stock even the most obscure comforts of home. Pursuing the American Dream once meant giving up everything, but does the dream still work if the past refuses to grow distant and mythical, remaining alarmingly within reach?
If the Nasmertov parents can afford only to look forward, learning the rules of aspiration, the family’s youngest, Frida, can’t help looking back—and asking far too many questions.
Yelena Akhtiorskaya’s exceptional debut has been hailed not only as the great novel of Brighton Beach but as a “breath of fresh air … [and] a testament to Akhtiorskaya’s wit, generosity, and immense talent as a young American author” (NPR).

From Publishers Weekly

May 12, 2014 – The Ukrainian Jewish family featured in this hilarious debut leaves Odessa for Brooklyn in 1991. They include renowned doctor Robert Nasmertov; his daughter, Marina; who finds work cleaning houses for wealthy American Jews; and her nine-year-old daughter, Frida. However, Robert's son, Pasha, a brilliant poet but a totally incapable human being, never emigrates, visiting his family only occasionally. In 2008, the adult Frida goes to see him and discovers that he has become "more alienated and excluded in his native city than his family in their new land." Akhtiorskaya's take on how family members manipulate and fail each other is spot-on, with Pasha and Frida both disappointing their family in different ways: he converts to Christianity; she begins medical school but drops out. The prose is finely crafted, but this is not a tale of relatable people. Instead, Akhtiorskaya excels at humorous, slightly overstated character sketches, making each person uniquely absurd.

Customer Reviews

Save your money

The author is talented but the book needs more work. When I was in Elementary school I was taught about run on sentences. Well some of the author's sentences are so long that I forgot what she was trying to say.
Maybe the editor can take some of the blame.

Panic in a suitcase

Quite tedious to read and follow but has moments of brilliance and great comic relief.

Panic in a suitcase

Title deceiving. Where was the Panic?????

Panic in a Suitcase
View in iTunes
  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Jul 31, 2014
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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