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University of Iowa News Release

May 5, 2005

Canadian Writer Bezmozgis Reads From Story Collection May 20 On WSUI

Fiction writer David Bezmozgis will read from his new short-story collection, "Natasha and Other Stories," at 8 p.m. Friday, May 20, on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910. Listen on the Internet at

The reading, hosted by Julie Englander, will be a free event in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

Bezmozgis, who was born in Latvia, immigrated with his family to Toronto as a child. His stories, some sad, some very funny, tell of a childhood in an immigrant Jewish community after the fall of the Soviet empire.

Canadian literary critic Robert Fulford has described Bezmozgis as a "one-man shock-and-awe invasion of North American literature."

Critic Peter Darbyshire explained, "David Bezmozgis became an overnight star when he published stories in the holy trinity of American magazines for fiction lovers: The New Yorker, Harper's and Zoetrope. With the publication of his first book, 'Natasha,' he has been compared to Chekhov and Philip Roth, and the comparison is more than just promotional copy."

Johns Hopkins creative writing professor Harvey Grossinger wrote in the Houston Chronicle, "There is not a sentence or line of dialogue that rings false in this highly accomplished first book of interwoven short stories. . . . Moreover, there is nothing platitudinous or pretentious in this compressed and darkly comical fictional chronicle of an immigrant family struggling to make its way in a strange and estranging new society. Bezmozgis has deftly managed to delineate the varied discouragements and dislocations of his characters without for a moment drifting into sentimentality, or worse, contrived sagaciousness.

"These stories are all exquisitely crafted. David Bezmozgis' vision is inclusive, complex and unerringly apt. Enjoy them all."

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,