ALL THE CLEAN ONES ARE MARRIED: And Other Everyday Calamities in Russia
Working as a newspaper reporter in upstate New York in 1991, Cidylo told her Ukrainian-born parents that she wanted to live in Moscow. The Cold War having only just ended, they were appalled. But she persevered, and for the next several years lived and worked in the capital as it quickly sold itself to the highest bidder. Fluent in Russian, Cidylo lived in a Muscovite apartment and immersed herself in the city's everyday life, which she describes with humor and compassion. For example, her efforts first to find a washing machine, then to use it, are poignantly funny. "What did you expect? This is Russia," is the usual refrain of her Russian friends to daily indignities. Many of her anecdotes focus on her experiences of close relationships and gender relations in Russia, which have been much less affected by feminism than in the West—though the Russians are enlightened in their own way. (In Russia, Cidylo writes, "what's important is not staying married, but having been married" as a sort of rite of passage.) Her feelings after the untimely death of a male friend and her relationship with a Russian grandmother who works for her as an upholsterer are poignant. Cidylo's light touch and wry humor make this a distinctive trip, offering insight into both sides of the formerly bipolar world. (June)
Forecast:Fans of Andrea Lee's Russian Journal will welcome this similarly personal account; Cidylo is as likable in person as she is in prose, her author tour will spur sales.