Tania Skarynkina’s stories mix life in a small Belarusian town with thoughts on world literature. She has an external naivety of the imagination that creates an Eastern Bloc magic realism. Sitting by her window with a glass of cranberries in sugar syrup bought from a woman in the market who assured her they came from Karelia, she muses, ‘Perhaps they have some other kind of effect when you eat them. Spiritual maybe? So I eat and wait for the Karelian cranberries to work their magic on me.’
Skarynkina is impelled to spend the last of her money on a trip to Krakow to meet Czeslaw Milosz but never finds his address, so he remains to her an idol like Elvis Presley dressed in gold lame. Each story has a charm and imaginative flight of its own.