Zinaida’s from Odessa, Ukraine, where they speak Russian outside of Russia. In the U.S., where they speak English outside England, she has met Valentine. Odessa, Zina’s motherland, is motherless, her mother having abandoned their family for the American dream. Valentine’s father abandoned Odessa, his motherland too, for the U.S. Now Zina and Valentine are returning to Odessa during the 2014 Ukrainian Spring (Euromaidan). In this place at this time, one’s tongue can determine whether one lives or dies.
Two Big Differences is a story of navigating identity through language. Comparative titles include The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner, Immigrant City by David Bezmozgis, and Jhumpa Lahiri’s In Other Words. Two Big Differences is a work of literary fiction and is approximately 73,000 words.
My work appears in New Madrid, Asymptote, The Cafe Review, Ploughshares, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and Fiction Writers Review, in which my essay “Of Translation and Politics in Russian Literature” was the most widely read piece of 2016. I’ve judged the University of Michigan’s Hopwood Award Contest. I teach Writing at Baruch College and NYC College of Technology. I am also the founder of Kritzler Writers Group.