Set between 1950s and the present, in Russia and the US, Snow in May features characters all bound together by a relationship to the town Magadan, a former transit base for prisoners sent to Stalin’s labour camps, whose inhabitants were a curious mixture of ex-prisoners and cultured new arrivals from the cities. In nine linked stories, Kseniya Melnik describes with great tenderness the lives and times of her hometown.
Reviews of Snow in May
‘She’s inherited her native country’s literary giants’ passion for soul-searching and dramatizing the shared fates that bind people to places.’ Max Liu, Independent
‘Melnik is very talented, and this is an unerringly assured and dextrous first book. It’s a big compliment when I say it merits comparison to Jennifer Egan’s wonderful ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’ – the way perspectives prismatically glide from character to character and era to era, showing the simultaneously redemptive and remorseless work of Time in lucid and elaborate cross-section. Needless to say, though each story works on its own, they build beautifully together.
The writing itself is achieved, finished, and gleams with unexpected imagery, gorgeous idiomatic reconfigurations of clichés and memorable aphorisms.’ Colin Barrett, author of ‘Young Skins’
‘Funny and sad, tender and tough, Melnik’s stories reveal a writer who is wise and insightful beyond her years. Melnik’s grasp of the realities of the twentieth century Russian Far East is startlingly accurate, but these stories are not anthropological studies – the characters transcend the setting, and they will break your heart.’ Anya Ulinich, author of ‘Petropolis’
‘The best story collection you’ll read this year.’ Darin Strauss, bestselling author of ‘Chang and Eng’, ‘More Than It Hurts You’ and ‘Half a Life’