Illuminating the lives of immigrants from across the terrain of a collapsed Soviet Empire, Krasikov captures the fates of people–in search of love and prosperity–making their way in a world whose rules have changed.
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.