I came across The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight by Gina Ochsner after more digging through my library’s online catalog, and it sounded interesting from the descriptions I found online. Sadly, it didn’t quite live up to my hopes for it.
The book follows a loosely associated group of people living in the same decaying apartment building in Perm, Russia, and it changes perspective between several of the characters. It was hard to tell what time period this took place, though it seemed to be the recent past, aside from the occasional flashback. It was definitely post-Soviet era, but some of the elements felt older.
It was also hard to get a grip on who was really the main character, since the perspective changes weren’t really balanced. A lot of focus was put on Olga, a translator for a propaganda newspaper, but then most of the plot eventually circled around Tanya, a girl in her 20s working in a museum while trying to figure out what she’d rather do with her life. It was frustrating when the perspective switched to some of the lesser characters, especially since those chapters didn’t feel like they added much to the story.
The story itself was rather loosely pieced together, and it just kind of fell away as I read on. I wanted something more out of the characters and the potential the early story seemed to have, but it never quite got there.
Overall, I’d say it was just an ok book. Some elements were interesting, but, ultimately, it just never felt real or compelling enough.