Meet the Bermans - Bella, Roman and their son Mark - Russian Jews who have fled the Riga of Brezhnev for Toronto, the city of their dreams. Natasha brings the Bermans - and the Russian-Jewish enclaves of Toronto - to life in stories full of big, desperate, utterly believable consequence. In 'Tapka', six-year-old Mark's first experiments in English bring ruin and near tragedy to the neighbours upstairs. In 'Roman Berman, Massage Therapist', Roman and Bella stake all their hopes for Roman's business on their first, humiliating dinner with a North American family. In the title story, a stark, funny anatomy of first love, we witness Mark's sexual awakening at the hands of his fourteen-year-old cousin, a new immigrant from the New Russia.
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