"Funny, painful, outrageous . . . Anya Ulinich is the David Sedaris of Russian-American cartoonists." --Gary Shteyngart Anya Ulinich turns her sharp eye toward the strange, often unmooring world of "grown-up" dating in this darkly comic graphic novel. After her fifteen-year marriage ends, Lena Finkle gets an eye-opening education in love, sex, and loss when she embarks on a string of online dates, all while raising her two teenage daughters. The Vampire of Bensonhurst, the Orphan, Disaster Man, and the Diamond Psychiatrist are just a few of the unforgettable characters she meets along the way. Evoking Louis C. K.'s humor and Amy Winehouse's longing and anguish, and paying homage to Malamud and Chekhov, " Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel" is a funny and moving story, beautifully told.
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Ulinich turns her sharp eye toward the strange, sometimes unmooring world of grown-up dating. After fifteen years of marriage, thirty-seven-year-old Lena embarks on a string of online dates and receives a brutally eye-opening education in love, sex, and loss while raising her two teenage daughters. With references to Bernard Malamud and Chekhov along the way, this is a smart, funny story told beautifully through Ulinich's text and drawings.Review:
Praise for "Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel" ""Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel" transcends its influences so thoroughly it creates a form, a language, all its own. . . . The simplest way to describe it is to say that it's about Lena's efforts to reconcile herself to sex and love (through OkCupid, among other contemporary intercessions), but that doesn't do justice to the complexity of what Ulinich has in mind. Rather, " Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel" works as something of a confessional, a series of notebooks that excavate its protagonist's life and psyche from the inside. . . . This is the power of the graphic novel, that it not only tells but also shows us, that by integrating images into the narrative, it draws us into Lena's experience with the force of memory. Ulinich means--not unlike Pekar in "American Splendor "or Karl Ove Knausgaard in "My Struggle"--to set aside literature with a capital L (whatever that is) in favor of the epic textures of the day-to-day."--David Ulin, "Los Angeles Times" "An engrossing graphic novel about the vicissitudes of love, family, immigration, and art . . . Its intricate layering of memory, speech, and time exemplifies the sophistication and confidence with which Ulinich, a novelist who trained as a visual artist, approaches comics. . . . Her book can stand beside the work of other writers who've immigrated from the former Soviet Union--Gary Shteyngart, David Bezmozgis, and Keith Gessen. . . . She leaves us, her readers, with an unmistakable sense of having encountered a rare, indeed magical, talent."--Ayelet Waldman, "The New York Times Book Revie"w "A bold new graphic novel . . . Lena's online-dating match-ups range from promising to disastrous, exposing the sexy sensibility and bookish panache of her darkly delightful Russian-American soul."" --Elle" "Splendid . . . Ulinich packs "Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel" with wit, making the most of the absurdities and indignities of online dating. To that, sh
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