Alex Madison

  • interviews April 27, 2021

    Pass It On

    Maria Kuznetsova’s fiction is distinguished by her memorable female characters, women who can find wonder—and a wry laugh—even in the darkest moments. Her second novel, Something Unbelievable, introduces two such women: Larissa, a vivacious, acerbically blunt octogenarian living in Kiev, and her granddaughter Natasha, a “weary and ruined and sweat-covered” new mother in a cramped Upper Manhattan apartment. Natasha has lost both of her parents years earlier, and her baby daughter inspires her to reflect on matrilineal inheritance. She asks Larissa to recount her family’s escape from the Nazis,

  • interviews April 01, 2021

    Pictures of You

    One night in the spring of 1970, up-and-coming British singer-songwriter Nev Charles sees a young woman named Opal Robinson singing at a Detroit open-mic. She is wearing crushed velvet and a long blue-black wig, and he is, in his own words, “absolutely gobsmacked.” Her strange voice wields just the power his act is missing. When Opal starts performing with him in the New York City rock scene, a cult idol is born.

    Opal is the fictional musician and provocateur of Dawnie Walton’s debut novel, The Final Revival of Opal and Nev, which begins by revisiting the duo’s origins. It goes on to cover

  • interviews June 10, 2019

    Bookforum talks with Maria Kuznetsova

    Maria Kuznetsova was born in Kiev, Ukraine and moved to the United States with her family as a child. She lent some of her biography to the heroine of her debut novel, Oksana, Behave! The novel’s eleven chapters are episodic, beginning with Oksana and her family’s immigration to the US in 1992 and continuing on through a series of mishaps, losses, and adventures as Oksana haphazardly enters adulthood.

    Our protagonist is clever and impulsive—a fiery misfit. As a child in Florida, she dials 9-1-1 to find out whether the service really “works” and tells the dispatcher “My grandmother is trying