Love Like Water, Love Like Fire


304 pages

Trade Paper

List Price US $16.99
ISBN: 9781942658566


Ebook

ISBN: 9781942658573




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“What distinguishes Iossel as a writer, aside from his obvious talent for atmospheric dramedy, is his lucid, musical prose style. . . . Iossel’s marvelous sense of rhythm dazzles the reader. We can’t stop turning the pages of this book.”

New York Times Book Review

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“The former USSR continues to cast a long shadow on our current affairs, but Mikhail Iossel brings a fresh eye to the region. . . . Engaging equally with the absurdity and brutality of life in a repressive regime, [Love Like Water, Love Like Fire is] perfect for fans of Gogol and George Saunders alike.”

Chicago Review of Books

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“Iossel brings his warm, gently ironic authorial voice to bear on the cruel and often surreal lives of Jews in the Soviet Union. . . . ‘There is love like fire, and there is love like water,’ say the Hasidic masters, and Iossel’s collection explores that dichotomy.”

Jewish Book Council

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“[A] vibrant collection. . . . With an ear for the clumsiness of Russian bureaucratic nomenclature, an eye for Kafkaesque humiliations, and a heart that embraces all the paradoxes of being a Soviet Jew, Iossel casts a spell over the reader. Reading like Sholem Aleichem updated by Bruce Jay Friedman, these stories reflect the exciting evolution of Russian Jewish literature.”

Publishers Weekly

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“[An] engaging collection. . . . While many stories illuminate the absurdity of Soviet society, Iossel conveys the brutal oppression of the surveillance state most intensely, and hauntingly, in the title story.”

Kirkus Reviews

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“Replete with an erudite wit and eloquent wisdom, Love Like Water, Love Like Fire is an extraordinary, thoughtful, and thought-provoking read.”

Midwest Book Review

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Love Like Water, Love Like Fire is an extraordinary book: funny and profound, moving and provocative. Rarely has life in the former USSR (or anywhere, for that matter) been portrayed with such a rich admixture of soaring observation and finely rendered detail. This is a gorgeously constructed collection by one of our wittiest and most insightful writers.”

Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans

“Iossel is a genius, a comic visionary in the tradition of Gogol, Keret, Barthelme, and Saunders. Love Like Water, Love Like Fire is a book of surprises and delights.”

Brian Morton, author of Starting Out in the Evening and Florence Gordon

From the moment of its founding, the USSR was reviled and admired, demonized and idealized. Many Jews saw the new society ushered in by the Russian Revolution as their salvation from shtetl life with its deprivations and deadly pogroms. But Soviet Russia was rife with antisemitism, and a Jewish boy growing up in Leningrad learned early, harsh, and enduring lessons.

Unsparing and poignant, Mikhail Iossel’s twenty stories of Soviet childhood and adulthood, dissidence and subsequent immigration, are filled with wit and humor even as they describe the daily absurdities of a fickle and often perilous reality.

Chicago Review of Books “Must-Read Books” selection

Excerpt from Love Like Water, Love Like Fire



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Mikhail Iossel discusses Love Like Water, Love Like Fire with Fiction Writers Review.

Read a story from Mikhail Iossel’s Love Like Water, Love Like Fire at the Literary Hub and preview more in the New Yorker.