. . . Word madness is a hallmark of the writing: lyrical descriptions of place, time, and events; touches of the bizarre; everyday humor; and a love of New York from Brighton Beach in Brooklyn to the gentrifying East Village delight with their clarity and detail. Written with sweetness, compassion, and great beauty. . . Ellen Loughran
. . . Alenyikov’s richly detailed yet straightforward prose pulls us into the world the father and brothers have made for themselves in contemporary Brooklyn, capturing the jitteriness of Ivan’s manic episodes, the tensions of urban gay life, and the coping with family acceptance and AIDS. In one story, set in the week before 9/11, the mere dates on the calendar put readers on edge. The strongest story, told in Louie’s voice, takes us inside the infirmities, sorrows, and long perspective of advancing age. VERDICT Highly recommended . . . Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ. Libs., Harrisonburg, VA
. . . Alenyikov weaves literary prose to poetry as if such a thing were easy to do. He exposes his characters — their quirks, their longings, their cares, their loves, their angst — with a lilt of pen rarely equaled . . . George Seaton
NY Gay City News
. . . Alenyikov carefully renders in this Phillip Roth-writing-The Brothers Karamazov a post gay story . . . Alenyikov’s achievement in Ivan and Misha far surpasses his skillfully calibrated telling of a NY story of love and desire. Through his characters’ difficulties in distinguishing life from the hopes it holds out the author offers a reflective novel that acutely examines the question of what remains unique about a normalized gay experience. — Yoav Sivan
Many-faceted love is the book’s subject: from the intense and fleeting to bonds of familial obligation . . . Throughout the prose is plain, prophetic in tone. What happens to us when we love? How terrible are the deeds that love can make us commit? What does it mean to live for another? When the lines between love, madness, and death begin to blur, you know you are in Alenyikov territory — Karen Laws
The Reading Life
There are tragic elements in the stories. There is death, serious mental illness and Aids in these stories. There is also a sheer love of life that comes strongly through. Readers of Russian literature will love all of the references and will have fun deciding if they agree with what the characters say about the various writers.
The prose is beautiful. There are many exquisitely done images. I will restrain myself from comparing his work to the great Russian masters but this could be done without condescension or pandering.