Watching Oksana and Other Stories

The short story collection Watching Oksana and Other Stories features a variety of voices, most of them speaking from the late 20th century. The opening group of stories, “What You Do for Love,” is linked thematically, all of its protagonists in uniquely intense yet familiar parent/child relationships. “American Snapshot, 1993,” is a stand-alone story in a more experimental vein that takes an oblique look at race. The four stories in the “Laura” section that follows feature the same character at different points in her life, the last story Laura’s dreamlike experience of the death of her mother. The collection’s final story is “Swimming,” whose main character’s desperate wish for a child leaves her emotionally numbed at the loss of her husband.

From the Interview:
Standard advice to a writer is often: “Write what you know.” How then did you, with your roots in the American Midwest, so successfully create a character in “Watching Oksana” like Aleksei Andreiovitch Smirnov, including details from his life in Odessa, his experiences as a seaman, and nuances about bars in Superior, Wisconsin?

 —Marion Lang, Menomonie, Wisconsin

 This question reminds me of one of the best compliments I’ve ever received as a writer. Read more…


Watching Oksana
The Temple of Amun
 Mother Tongue
Eleven Days to China 
American Snapshot, 1993 (printed in its entirety)

Audio Excerpts:

From “The Temple of Amun
From “Eleven Days to China
From “Treasures

Music Links:

Chausson, Quelques Danses Pour Piano, I: “Dédicace,” and III: “Pavanne,” Denis Pascal
Sho Kitagawa, Balalaika, “Polyushko Pole,” “Sword Dance,” “Oginski-Polonez
Romances Russes, Odnozvuchno Gremit Kolokolchik,” Pasha Babakov
Evergreen, Vol. 2,”Different Drum,” The Stone Poneys and Linda Rondstadt
J.S. Bach, Goldberg Variations, Simone Dinnerstein


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