Ambassador of the Dead by Askold Melnyczuk

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Synopsis

One Sunday morning, Nick Blud, a successful Boston physician, is home in bed when he receives a phone call from Ada Kruk, the mother of a boyhood friend. Ada summons Nick back to his old Ukranian-American New Jersey neighborhood, where something unspeakable has just happened-exactly what, no one is willing to say. To find out, Nick sets off on a journey through the past, his own as well as that of Ada's son, Alex, who long has struggled to escape his family's legacy of violence.

A harrowing tale about friendship and love, America and the immigrant's dream, Ambassador of the Dead introduces Ada Kruk, a mother like no other, at once Mary and Medea, Sarah and Medusa. A study of ambitions gone awry and appetites too easily gratified, this novel is also an unflinching meditation on exile and assimilation and the price of love.

Dan Cryer of Newsday labeled Ambassador of the Dead “…Artistic gold” calling Melnyczuk “an able analyst of character and a superb storyteller.” And, Esquire magazine said “A novel so precise and understated it’s stunning.”
 

About Askold Melnyczuk

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Askold Melnyczuk is the director of creative writing at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is the author of two other novels, "What Is Told "and "Ambassador of the Dead," He also teaches in the Graduate Writing Seminars at Bennington College.
 
Published October 10, 2011 by PFP, Inc. 258 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The son of one such family, Nick Blud, serves as Melnyczuk's narrator, telling his own story—he's now married and a medical doctor in Boston—and the story, even more importantly, of his next-door neighbors in Elizabeth, Ada Kruk and her two sons Paul and Alex.

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Publishers Weekly

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He finds first that Alex's mother, Ada, once vibrant and attractive, is now embittered, lonely and nearly blind.

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