In 1991, Lori Cidylo shocked her Ukrainian Polish-born parents when she told them she was leaving her reporter’s job in upstate New York to live and work in the rapidly dissolving Soviet Union. For the next six years she lived on a shoestring budget in Moscow, in tiny, run-down apartments, coping with the daily calamities of life in Russia. Fluent in Russian, she rode public transportation, did her own shopping and cooking, and shared the typical Musovite’s life—unlike most Westerners who were sequestered in heavily guarded compounds reserved for diplomats and journalists. As the country experienced its most dramatic transformation since the Bolshevik Revolution, she realized she had stepped into a fantastical and absurd adventure.
Cidylo’s wry, insightful account of what it was like for an American woman living in Russia is a dramatic tale full of insouciant laughter, in which vividness and immediacy shine on every page. With the sharp eye of an acute observer, she captures both the momentous events and the everyday trivia: how do Russians address one another now that the familiar “comrade” is passé; or, how do you find your way home in a city where the streets keep getting new names? As Russia even now continues to struggle with the Cold War’s aftermath, Cidylo gives a delightful surprising, warmly human view of post-Soviet life.
About the Author
Lori Cidylo is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the Boston Herald, the Chicago Tribune, the Economist, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and other publications.
"A beguiling memoir . . . [Cidylo] serves up amusing slices of Soviet life. . . [E]vocative vignettes of ordinary life."––Kirkus Reviews
"Despite continual frustration with everyday life in Moscow (her search for a washing machine, for example, takes on the fervor of a quest for the Holy Grail), Cidylo retains her sense of humor and makes every effort to adapt. She aptly sums up a foreigner's perspective when she writes, 'Many of us don't realize just how ill prepared for life we are until we arrive in Russia.'" ––Library Journal
"The best of this fall's new travel books..." —New York Times Book Review, "Best Travel Books of 2001"
“A fascinating glimpse of post-Soviet society during a time of turmoil and drastic change.” —Library Journal
“Cidylo’s light touch and wry humor make this a distinctive trip, offering insight into both sides of the formerly bipolar world.” —Publishers Weekly