A dissolute writer fights redemption in "a black comedy of eyes-wide-open excess . . . and a fine rumination on being Russian, besides" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year Praised by Kurt Vonnegut for his "truly deep and universal" fiction, "Sergei Dovlatov wrote some of the best Russian novels of the late 20th century . . . but among Anglophone readers he has been inexplicably forgotten (The Guardian). It is high time for a revival" with this personal, poignant, and deliriously prickly portrayal of the Russian attitude towards life and art. An unpublished author, inveterate alcoholic, and self-described "near dissident" Boris Alikhanov has recently divorced his wife Tatyana, and is running out of money. The prospect of a summer job as a tour guide at the Pushkin Hills Preserve, a sprawling estate dedicated to Romantic poet Alexander Pushkin, offers Alikhanov some hope of regaining balance. But as his wife makes plans to emigrate to the West with their daughter Masha, Alikhanov's stay in the rural museum becomes just a fresh opportunity for his life to unravel further. Now, amidst the ridiculous tourists, fanatical poetry fans, and the increasing absurdities of his menial, maddening job, Alikhanov embarks on an epic bender to weigh the merits of abandoning his "crazy country" altogether, and, as well, his literary heritage. "A new translation of a Dovlatov novel is like Christmas morning for the English-speaking world; and this one from his daughter, no less (The Millions) is "joyous, thrilling . . . funny on every page, sparkling with jokes, repartee, and this writer's special savage levity" (The New Yorker).