(Songs for Lovers)
A young soldier on leave from the Chechen war laments the meaninglessness of civilian life -- "all that goddamned self-expression" -- while his girlfriend ponders the elegant arch of her best friend's eyebrows; a teacher at a summer camp is appalled, disgusted, and frightened by her out-of-control charges and the retribution she could suffer at the hands of their powerful parents; love and loyalty become entangled as a young woman sleeps with friends of her unattainable object of desire to feel closer to him; a suicidal teenager finds salvation in the unlikely duo of a beefy security guard and his Rottweiler; the object of a university student's crush unknowingly pushes her buttons from afar when he neglects to return her anonymous love notes; and Death visits an Internet chat room after politely accepting the offer of a cup of tea.
Full of electricity, humor, controversy, and above all, humanity, these pitch-perfect stories put to use the possibilities of language and perception to give a glimpse of Russia's youth and their struggle to grow up, find their way, and, ultimately, love.
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