Apparently, David Bezmozgiz is the current darling of the lit scene. His first collection Natasha: And Other Stories has some real gems, including the title story, the one about the dog, and the one about the weight lifter. The prose is flat and even, usually until some final epiphany when the language breaks out. Didn’t care so much about the last two, three stories, but that’s ok. They’re all linked by the same narrator, a Russian immigrants’ son in Toronto (much like Bezmozgiz himself.) I suppose the “linked stories” format is a bit of cop out because it vaguely feels like a novel, except that you don’t have to develop your main character as in a novel.
The best stories in here indeed feel like little masterpieces: sparse, focused, vivid.