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19 November 2018

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Book Review

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Found Life

By Linor Goralik (Columbia, $14.95)

This delightful, mesmerizing book ought to have been published in a more unconventional format. Perhaps on a long Mobius strip constructed out of boiled Japanese noodles. Or maybe on a wind chime made of hummingbird bones. Either of those would have been a better tip off to what this work holds than the spine, pages and cover of a book. But then a book is far easier to tote around.

Found Life is just that, a melange of works short and long – from Twitter bursts and poetry, to comics and short stories – that offer a portrait of life through the colorful kaleidoscope of Goralik’s “verbal photography.”*

By turns entertaining, quixotic and unnerving, this sampling of the prolific writer’s many voices and styles is something you will want to leave lying around to dip into when you have a spare moment, or just before nodding off to bed, to seed your dreamscape. Certainly it would be too dangerous to imbibe in long stretches. The pieces of this whole demand a bit of time for thought, for fermentation.

Whether it is the haunting story of a Valerii in search of a lost cat, or the hilarious riff on searching for an Israeli sublet, or...

A little boy asks his mother on the subway “Is it true that Piter used to be called something else?” and hearing the answer, “Yes, Leningrad.” “But why?” “It was easier that way.”

...Goralik entertains and provokes thought. And really, one could not ask for more than that.

— Paul E. Richardson

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Reviewed in Russian Life: Jan/Feb 2018