Red Weather by Pauls Toutonghi
A Novel

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Synopsis

The setting is Milwaukee, Wisconsin—if not America’s heart, then at least its liver—home to an array of breweries and abandoned factories and down-on-their-luck Eastern European immigrants. The year is 1989.

Revolutions are sweeping through the nations of the Eastern Bloc. Communism is unraveling. And nobody feels this unraveling more piquantly than Yuri Balodis—a fifteen-year-old first-generation American living with his Latvian-immigrant parents in Milwaukee’s Third Ward.

It’s a turbulent time. And when Yuri falls in love with Hannah Graham—the daring daughter of a prominent local socialist—chaos ensues. Within weeks, Yuri is ensnared by both Hannah and socialism. He joins the staff of the Socialist Worker. He starts quoting Lenin and Marx indiscriminately.

His parents, of course, are horrified and deeply saddened. They try to educate him, to show him why, in their opinion, communism has ruined so many lives. But Yuri is stubborn. And his ideological betrayal will have more serious consequences than breaking his parents’ hearts.

Red Weather is by turns funny and bittersweet, tinged with a rueful comic sense that will instantly remind you of the absurd complications of love. Pauls Toutonghi’s stunning debut novel is at once reminiscent of Michael Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Pauls Toutonghi

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Pauls Toutonghi is the Pushcart Prize winning author of the critically-acclaimed novel Red Weather. He was born in Seattle, Washington to an Egyptian father and a Latvian mother. His work has appeared in The New York Times, VQR, Sports Illustrated, Zoetrope, Glimmer Train, The Harvard Review, and One Story-as well as online for Salon, The Rumpus, Bookslut, The Millions, and elsewhere. He is the father of twins, and teaches at Lewis and Clark College, in Portland, Oregon.
 
Published February 27, 2007 by Crown. 274 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Red Weather

Kirkus Reviews

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A run-down section of Milwaukee, as well as the fall of communism, provide the backdrop for this coming-of-age novel.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Red Weather: A Novel

The New York Times

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In this first novel, a Latvian family in Milwaukee watches Communism fall.

Jun 04 2006 | Read Full Review of Red Weather: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Toutonghi's tragicomic debut novel paints a loving, cockeyed picture of the Soviet immigrant experience in the twilight of the Cold War. Yuri Balodis, a painfully thin, bookish 15-year-old livi

Jan 09 2006 | Read Full Review of Red Weather: A Novel

NPR

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Pauls Toutonghi's novel Red Weather takes place in Milwaukee. It's a bittersweet love letter to that city, and to the protagonist's father.

Jun 19 2006 | Read Full Review of Red Weather: A Novel

BookPage

BookPage: Discover your next great book! ... Review by Harvey Freedenberg ...
but Pauls Toutonghi's debut novel will persuade skeptical readers they're dead ...

| Read Full Review of Red Weather: A Novel

Reader Rating for Red Weather
77%

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