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Where Bears Roam the Streets

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by Jeff Parker
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Where Bears Roam the Streets by Jeff Parker

A unique portrait of Russia awash in change – told through the lens of a long-standing friendship between two young men who grew up on opposing sides of the Cold War

In late 2000s, Jeff Parker went to Russia intending to write a book about the country's resurgence as a major global superpower under President Vladimir Putin, and about the emergence, for maybe the first time in history, of a Russian middle class. But Russia squirms under the pressure of any attempt to pin it down. In the midst of the social and financial upheaval of the years that followed, the answers Parker sought only raised more questions: What was Russia? How did it work? How did people live? How could they eat kholodetz (meat jelly)?

As Russia today continues to flex its muscles and isolate itself from the West, Parker looks beyond the global politics to the heart of everyday life by giving us the story of his friendship with Igor, a young barkeep and draft dodger. Igor is not the model Perestroika generation man nor some kind of Putin-era everyman, he is, like The Dude in The Big Lebowski, a man for his time and place. He is the metaphor for a Russia in crisis. What Parker has created is a revealing story of Russian life, told with intelligence, humour and no small amount of misadventure.

"Where Bears Roam the Streets is a kind of Fear and Loathing on the Trans-Siberian Railroad with a profane barman standing in for the profane attorney (naturally)...A funny and illuminating portrait of two men in crisis and a country that keeps changing and keeps staying exactly the same." --Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure and Super Sad True Love Story

"This is the smartest, funniest, most honest book about Russia I've read since Elif Batuman's The Possessed. Parker's hero, or anti-hero, or hero--the rambunctious, alienated, chicken-heart-eating Igor--is unlike anyone you'll meet in the literature on Russia or any other country. But his story is the story of Russia over the last twenty years, and Parker's book tells it in a way that ordinary journalism never will." -- Keith Gessen, author of All the Sad Young Literary Men

"Parker goes deep and asks the hard questions. Together with his compatriot Igor — a true poet savant of the Russian Condition — Parker crisscrosses the country, embracing paradox wherever he goes. His encounters with crusading fashionista journalists, Chechen-vet paintball warriors, and basically the entire phylum of drunkards, will pare your nerve endings like a cucumber. I never wanted this book to end, I honest-to-God loved it so much." – Alina Simone, author of You Must Go and Win

"Parker gets down and dirty with the real Russia. There is no gloss and shine here but simply and quite beautifully the stark meaning of today in a place usually beyond comprehension. Read this book if you'd like to know the reality of the Russian street. It's a great book." – Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead

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Ebook Details
Pages: 272
Size: 1.3 MB
Publisher: HarperCollins
Date published:   2014
ISBN: 9781443415859 (DRM-EPUB)

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Nonfiction > Biography & Autobiography
Nonfiction > Social Science

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Fiction > Short Stories (single author)
Fiction > Literary
Fiction > Comics & Graphic Novels > Graphic Novels > Science Fiction
Fiction > Comics & Graphic Novels > Graphic Novels > Crime & Mystery
Nonfiction > Biography & Autobiography
Nonfiction > Social Science
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