Like most modern migrants, the characters in these eight stories inhabit both past and present, homeland and new land ... One More Year is chiefly about exile and fidelity. Krasikov’s migrantka (they are mainly women) enact two plots: leaving their country and leaving their love(r) ... Krasikov’s cast of exiles, refugees and repatriates are also, more fundamentally, people moving in and out of love — or what passes for it. She has written a sensitive book about the economics of relationships: how they can become subtle transactions by people trying to pull off the trick of occupying more than one place and more than one time.
Krasikov's heroines are something between escorts and girlfriends. Cohabiting with elderly admirers and slack-bellied deadbeats they sell themselves short in order to get what they want: a visa and a chance to say farewell to the limited horizons of the East ... Love is what everyone wants, but in this world of illegal status and marrying strangers to get residency, everything reduces to the level of a transaction ... While most stories of modern immigration concentrate on the pangs of exile or the thrills of re-invention, Krasikov succeeds in capturing an experience that is neither one thing or another.
Many of the stories, as you'd expect, are about adjustment, but they go deeper: they are really about survival. There's a strain of eastern European pragmatism, especially in the female characters, that comes through strongly ... Most of the stories benefit from the necessary compression of the form, but a couple suffer ... Its complexity is such that a mere 25 pages can't do it justice, and the delicate emotional filigree that Krasikov is trying to trace ends up as little more than a melancholy blur ... On the whole, though, Krasikov's clear eye and economy of expression serve her purpose well, conveying whole lifetimes of grief and ambition in a few words.
Krasikov's stories are all filled with characters who have other lives playing at low volume underneath the ones they are currently enjoying (or, more often, enduring). They are economic migrants who have travelled from the republics of the old Soviet Union to the United States in search of better times that have proved elusive ... Isolated and disorientated in exile, many of Krasikov's characters look to love to give new shape to their lives, but they are destined for disappointment ... Her gift, like that of many of the best short-story writers, is to be able to hint at a larger narrative unfolding outside the confines of the tale she is telling. Past histories are filled out with a telling sentence or paragraph. Characters are given depth by a word or phrase.
The internal and external struggles of modern Eastern European immigrants are explored in Ukrainian native Krasikov’s debut short-story collection ... America remains a tantalizing paradox of opportunity and limitation for the steely folks who populate Krasikov’s world. While many of the stories are told from the point of view of women, hailing from the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, the characters differ greatly both in terms of economic opportunity and religious affinity—even as they all share a certain longing for love and connection ... Filled with clear-eyed observations, this elegant debut frequently alights on romantic disappointment (men come across especially badly) while leaving just enough room for hope.
In her stunning short story debut, Krasikov hones in on the subtleties of hope and despair that writhe in the hearts of her protagonists, largely Russian and Georgian immigrants who have settled on the East Coast ... Though many of Krasikov's stories are bleak, there are swells of promise; even Lera, whose husband leaves her for another woman, suddenly felt nothing but the most pure-hearted compassion for him, a kindness and forgiveness that almost broke her heart. Krasikov's prose is precise, and her stories are intelligent, complex and passionate.