Jul 9
2012

Starred PW review for new Sedia collection!

Moscow But Dreaming by Ekaterina Sedia

In this sterling collection of 21 fantastic tales, Sedia demonstrates the talents that have earned her a place on the Tiptree Honor List and a World Fantasy Award. Old enough to have lived in the actual Soviet Union, the Russian-born author refuses to pander to North American readers’ notions of life behind the Iron Curtain. While stories like “Citizen Komarova Finds Love,” in which a Russian noblewoman finds the grimmest of accommodations in a newly soviet Russia, and “Tin Cans,” whose protagonist is haunted by the specters of secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria’s victims, acknowledge the grim side of the U.S.S.R., Sedia allows present-day characters moments of nostalgia for the good that was lost “after the horrible and hungry 1990.” She also touches on other times and places, as in “The Bank of Burkina Faso,” which spins a 419 scam letter into a sweet and funny fairy tale. This masterful stylist’s lyrical stories will delight the thoughtful reader. — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Jun 21
2011

Starred PW review for new Sedia novel

Heart of Iron by Ekaterina Sedia

Sedia (The Alchemy of Stone) superbly blends novel of manners, alternate history, and le Carré–style espionage with a dash of superheroes and steampunk. In a Russia in which the Decembrist revolution succeeded and Constantine never abdicated, 18-year-old Sasha is unexpectedly enrolled at university thanks to a challenge her aunt Eugenia issues to Constantine. Her initial concerns about sexism fade to the background once she realizes that Chinese students are vanishing. After a visiting British student named Jack, who has strange powers, helps Sasha prevent a kidnapping, she learns of a plot that could lead Russia into war with China, England, or both. Sedia assembles a nice list of supporting characters–the forceful Eugenia, the Russian soldiers and Chinese fur traders Sasha befriends, sinister spymaster Florence Nightingale–and Sasha’s often frustrated but always practical narrative voice smoothly carries the novel to its satisfying conclusion. — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Feb 22
2011

Library Journal review of recent Sedia fantasy

The House of Discarded Dreams by Ekaterina Sedia

When Vimbai rents a room in a ramshackle house on the dunes of a New Jersey beach, she hopes to escape a mother who embarrasses her. Instead, she finds a roommate with a strange ability to separate objects into their component parts, a psychic-energy baby living in the telephone wires, and the ghost of her Zimbabwean grandmother inhabiting her kitchen. One day, the house floats out to sea, and Vimbai must find a way to return home. Sedia (The Secret History of Moscow) crafts a tale of magical realism that explores the connections between culture and identity as well as the nature of reality and dreams. VERDICT Humor and metaphysics blend in an elegantly written story of a woman’s quest for her true home and should appeal to fans of James P. Blaylock and Jonathan Carroll. –Library Journal

Dec 14
2010

Kirkus review of newest Ekaterina Sedia fantasy

The House of Discarded Dreams by Ekaterina Sedia

Vimbai, who studies invertebrate zoology because of a fascination with horseshoe crabs, moves into the house on the beach in order to escape her Zimbabwean immigrant mother’s intensity; she finds something strange and beautiful. There are two roommates: Zach, who has a pocket universe where his hair should be, and Maya, who works in an Atlantic City casino. Vimbai’s dead grandmother haunts them, a ghostly presence who tells Zimbabwean children’s stories and does the dishes. When the house comes unmoored and drifts away to sea, Vimbai must bargain with ghostly horseshoe crabs, untangle the many and varied stories that have come loose in the vast worlds of the house, and find a way home. From Maya’s urban nightmares to Vimbai’s African urban legends, the house is filled with danger and beauty and unexpected magic. On one level, this is a reflection of ancient fairy tales and legends; on the other, it’s a perfectly straightforward tale of finding oneself in a bizarre world. Either way, Sedia’s prose is a pleasure, her story a lovely place to have spent time, even with the horrors her characters face. — Kirkus Reviews

Nov 15
2010

PW review of new Ekaterina Sedia fantasy

The House of Discarded Dreams by Ekaterina Sedia

Lyrical writing and rich imagination compensate for loose plotting in this quirky, joyous fantasy. College student Vimbai moves to a house on the New Jersey shore to escape her bickering parents. Her housemates are a bit unusual: Maya is being followed by a pack of mystical animals, and Felix has a black hole sitting on his head. As the house drifts out to sea, Vimbai’s grandmother’s ghost starts doing housework and giving advice. Felix draws a “Psychic Energy Baby” out of the phone lines, and the house expands to include forests and lakes. Vimbai’s biggest concern is whether missing classes will affect her application to grad school. Somehow, the overall effect is dreamily compelling rather than farcical, as Sedia The Secret History of Moscow) shows how competing natural and supernatural worldviews can enrich each other. — Publishers Weekly

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