In Search of Melancholy Baby

Vassily Aksyonov


In this memoir, Russian novelist V. Aksyonov describes his growing alienation from the Soviet regime and his gradual acceptance of his adopted homeland: the United States.

During a visit to the U.S. in 1981, the Soviet government decided to strip Aksyonov of his Soviet citizenship. Exiled in Washington D.C., Aksyonov writes of his emigration and the process of coming to terms with American life. The author’s remarkably perceptive chronicle shows an extraordinary grasp of the American character that only an outsider could possess. Taught to hate America, Aksyonov reveals the secret idolatry his generation of “Critically Thinking Soviets” held for that country. The book’s title nostalgically recalls a popular American jazz tune from Aksyonov’s youth.

In search of the American character, Aksyonov humorously recounts his attempts to master America’s wondrous gadgetry, his experience with customer service representatives, and even his uncomfortable encounters with U.S. immigration officials who ironically remind him of Soviet apparatchiks. A warm, funny, and wise tribute to America; highly recommended.

243 pages

This book is out of print, but will be available in ebook format shortly.