Letters From Dwight
ISBN 1-879378-35-3 (paper),
336 pages, $15.
Transcribed from audio tapes sent to friends and relatives during the period of 1984 to 1991, these "cassette letters" report on a nether world both familiar and strange, both funny and deadly: the slum we normally drive by. The author, an ex-professor of Russian, rents rooms to an incredible series of oddballs, meanwhile striving to maintain contact with his distant family, to find romance and to keep up with the collapse of the Soviet Union. It's down and out, not in Paris and London, but on Dwight Avenue in Riverside, California.
GARY KERN is the author of Misfortune, a memoir published by Xenos Books, The Mad Kokoschka (also published by Xenos), and The Last Snow Leopard, a novel published by Ghost Dance Books (soon to be available from Xenos). He has written widely on Russian affairs and translated eight books by Russian authors. Letters from Dwight continues the story of his sojourn in California, begun in Misfortune, but is an independent work. Kern's most recent work is the critically acclaimed study, A Death in Washington: Walter G. Krivitksy and the Stalin Terror (Enigma Books, 2003).
Selected list of contents:
"The Lawn Manager" (who insisted his neighbors keep their lawns green and well-mown), "French Benefits" (a pair of French roomers), "The Whistling Troubadour" (who sang and whistled through his teeth), "Gorilla" (a Halloween story), "Scripture Says" (the rantings of a religious fanatic), "The Russians Are Coming!" (Russian émigrés with kooky ideas for success), "The Big Search" (for love and you-know-what), "The Mail Slot to Eternity" (hospital stories).
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