The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight focuses on five residents of a crumbling apartment building in post-Soviet Russia. We have Olga, a translator for the Red Star and her son Yuri, Azade, the bathroom-attendant who is mourning her husband who has recently fallen off their roof and died, and Tanya, a tour guide at the Museum of Art nearby. We learn about their struggles and triumphs, the relationships between the five of them, and about how their environment shapes and changes each of them.
I didn’t have any specific expectations for this novel when I started it, but I was certainly hoping it would be an enjoyable read. Unfortunately, I have to say that I didn’t like the book all that much. Let me try and tell you why…
I think my main issue with the book is that I didn’t quite understand where it was going. I found the plot sort of meandering and I thought that some of the bigger elements of the story could have been introduced a bit earlier, which perhaps would have helped me get interested in the book a little more. I also thought it was really, really hard to get through. I had a difficult time picking it back up after putting it down for a day or two because I just couldn’t get invested in the book. Honestly, if I hadn’t committed to a review I don’t think I would have finished it.
In the end, I was sort of left with a “so what?’ type of reaction. The story did have a lot of heart, and was very funny at times, but I just couldn’t “get” it. Perhaps other readers would better appreciate this novel.