Ukrainian novelist Andrey Kurkov writes short, surrealistic stories full of dark comedic surprises. His latest is The Case of the General's Thumb, but critic John Powers suggests starting with his 1996 novel, Death and the Penguin. It's a fast-paced, witty read and what Powers calls "an almost perfect novel."
Fresh Air music critic Milo Miles reviews music from Russian rock group Auktyon. The band is currently on tour in the U.S. Auktyon, like some other Russian rock groups, found their footing during the censorship-free period of glasnost in the former Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev.
World music commentator Milo Miles reviews the new album by the Terem ("Ter-yem") Quartet from St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad). It's a group that couldn't have existed in the past. (Realworld Records)