All Russians Love Birch Trees
Set in Frankfurt, All Russians Love Birch Trees follows a young immigrant named Masha. Fluent in five languages and able to get by in several others, Masha lives with her boyfriend, Elias. Her best friends are Muslims struggling to obtain residence permits, and her parents rarely leave the house except to compare gas prices. Masha has nearly completed her studies to become an interpreter, when suddenly Elias is hospitalized after a serious soccer injury and dies, forcing her to question a past that has haunted her for years. Olga Grjasnowa has a unique gift for seeing the funny side of even the most tragic situations. With cool irony, her debut novel tells the story of a headstrong young woman for whom the issue of origin and nationality is immaterial-her Jewish background has taught her she can survive anywhere. Yet Masha isn’t equipped to deal with grief, and this all-too-normal shortcoming gives a particularly bittersweet quality to her adventures.
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Masha, the main character, is young and headstrong, she is Azerbaijani, Jewish, and if necessary, a Turkish or a French woman. As an immigrant, she had the early experience of speechlessness in Germany. Now she speaks five languages fluently. She is planning her career at the UN, as her friend Elias falls seriously ill. She flees to Israel and her own past finally catches up with her. Olga Grjasnowa tells the story of a generation that knows no boundaries, but also has no home – written in perfect balance between tragedy and comedy.