... a slim but meaty set of stories. Both unsettling and illuminating, altogether it seems no less than excellent ... Overall, Belorusets strikes an impressive balance between the pains of the moment and the timeless coping mechanisms known as humor and imagination ... Many of the 32 pieces run just a couple pages, but they rise to cumulative power; in effect, these women finish one another’s sentences. Belorusets shifts from third person to second, and works in first as well, while sustaining the same menace in every perspective ... Yet even as the historical circumstances come into focus, key elements remain indistinct. Photos pop up with little relation to the events around them, more unsettling than clarifying, and a few seem deliberately blurred ... If Lucky Breaks feels like an essential document of our latest European war, it’s because Belorusets steers clear of straightforward documentary.
... beautifully translated ... A near-invisible narrator recurs, and most pieces have women as their protagonists. Many of them have been displaced by the war, often to Kyiv from areas with heavy fighting in 2014. The scale of their worlds is largely domestic, but through Belorusets’s lens, small actions and encounters take on the qualities of myth ... Trauma lingers in the interstices of the everyday, only sometimes announcing itself. The effect, shocking, can also take on a register of searing dark comedy ... The effect is rather as if Isaac Babel and the Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich had offspring.
This juxtaposition of the pedestrian and the cataclysmic lends the sketches their sense of irreality, or what Ms. Belorusets calls 'that clinging bewilderment, the distractedness that does not let go.' However unstable or absurdist it may appear, though, one vital aspect of daily living in Lucky Breaks is its insistence on continuing.Often, the writing turns tender and wistful. Some stories are about the sudden forging of close friendships, which the characters find just as unaccountable as war, but now unaccountably joyous. This, too, is the nature of a world defined by unpredictability.