Novelist illuminates a special time in Rome

David Bezmozgis
David Bezmozgis was one of the thousands of Soviet Jews who passed through Rome in the 1970s on his way to a new life after escaping Russia. His novel "The Free World" examines what turned out to be a unique period of recent history
Image courtesy Farrar Straus Giroux (photo (c) David Franco)

In the late 1970s many Soviet Jews fleeing communist Russia ended up in Rome. There they waited to learn where they would end up: the USA, Canada, Australia, or Israel.

It is in this particular time and place where David Bezmozgis sets his new novel "The Free World." The New Yorker magazine last year named Bezmozgis as one of the 20 best writers under 40 years of age.

He told Euan Kerr his characters know they are in one of the world's great cities, but they can't escape their own turmoil.

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