Troika

I found an early-release copy of this lying around a book review desk at work, read the blurb on the back and picked it up. There was nothing especially compelling about the premise, but a free book, hey, why not.

Pelzman’s background as student of Russian literature is pretty clear in how he chooses to portray the main male protagonist in this novel. A man defined by hardship, heir to the throne of courage and valor, and someone who keeps his closest friends/loved ones at arms distance is about as Russian hero as you can get. But situating this man in an American context, relating to a Cuban stripper (a pretty wrought allegory about Russian/Cuban relations, but whatever), is a novel way of exploring this character.

I was happy to see that Pelzman tried out new things throughout the book. Switching from third-person to first-person, changing perspectives throughout his short chapters, giving each main character a chance to tell the story from his/her own eye. That kept me interested in the second half of the book.

But, ultimately, this was a book about one main idea. About the odd, but oddly not that unbelievable, relationship between Sophie, Julian and Perla. I was hoping Pelzman would come up with something deeper to say about this relationship but he seemed to just stop right there. Almost as if it to say “hey look, isn’t this a weird relationship?” which isn’t enough to really make for a memorable book.