In the title story, a father and his young daughter stumble into a bizarre version of his immigrant childhood. A mysterious tech conference brings a writer to Montreal where he discovers new designs on the past inHow it Used to Be. A grandfather's Yiddish letters expose a love affair and a wartime secret inLittle Rooster. InRoman's Song, Roman's desire to help a new immigrant brings him into contact with a sordid underworld. At his father's request, Victor returns to Riga, the city of his birth, and has his loyalties tested by the man he might have been inA New Gravestone for an Old Grave. And, in the noir-inspiredThe Russian Riviera, Kostya leaves Russia to pursue a boxing career only to find himself working as a doorman in a garish nightclub in the Toronto suburbs.
In these deeply-felt, slyly humorous stories, David Bezmozgis pleads no special causes but presents immigrant characters with all their contradictions and complexities, their earnest and divided hearts.