The reader’s impulse to grapple with the text, to wrestle it down and to raise objections or to attempt to identify her own place in the context of the story, is a sign not of weakness, but of Grushin’s genius. This is a text that rewards rereading and demands engagement. There is no redemption story to relax into here, and no easy answers.
...at her best, Grushin beautifully renders a riddle of our time — do we have to be famous? — leading a critic to ask the reverse. What if happiness lies in the banal — love; work; a few spare principles to guide us — and in being able to let the train of remarkability pass us by?