where the writers are
Cover
My Life at First Try
$24.00
Hardcover
See Book Details »

BOOK DETAILS

  • Hardcover
  • Nov.28.2008
  • 9781582434001
  • Counterpoint

Mark gives an overview of the book:

This semi-autobiographical debut novel chronicles the life of Alex, raised in Siberia in 1950, and his dreams of becoming a writer and of meeting Annie, his distant American cousin. As a child, Alex observes a group of foreign tourists do something that non-drunk Soviet adults seldom do: they laugh. Alex yearns to become one of them—a free and happy foreigner. Those aspirations quickly fade as Alex begins to encounter the absurdities and constraints of living in a society where conformity is institutionalized. Hilarious and sometimes sobering, the book’s short chapters chronicle making it through the army, mastering the English language, sex, and meeting the girl of his dreams. In 1980, Alex and his young family finally get the chance to move to America. There he realizes that he is finally a foreigner—not the happy foreigner of his dream, but an alien. Ultimately,...
Read full overview »

This semi-autobiographical debut novel chronicles the life of Alex, raised in Siberia in 1950, and his dreams of becoming a writer and of meeting Annie, his distant American cousin. As a child, Alex observes a group of foreign tourists do something that non-drunk Soviet adults seldom do: they laugh. Alex yearns to become one of them—a free and happy foreigner. Those aspirations quickly fade as Alex begins to encounter the absurdities and constraints of living in a society where conformity is institutionalized. Hilarious and sometimes sobering, the book’s short chapters chronicle making it through the army, mastering the English language, sex, and meeting the girl of his dreams. In 1980, Alex and his young family finally get the chance to move to America. There he realizes that he is finally a foreigner—not the happy foreigner of his dream, but an alien. Ultimately, Alex finds his own place in the world, despite the fact that having the right “to vote for an elephant or an ass” does not necessarily guarantee self-fulfillment.

mark-budman's picture

Note from the author coming soon...

About Mark

Mark Budman's works have appeared or are about to appear in such magazines as Mississippi Review, Virginia Quarterly, The London Magazine,  McSweeney's, Turnrow, Southeast Review, Mid-American Review, the W.W. Norton anthology Flash Fiction Forward, and elsewhere. He is the...

Read full bio »

Published Reviews

Mar.02.2009

Mark Budman has a good ear for sexual frustration and bittersweet comedy, too. His first novel, My Life at First Try, is the autobiographical story of a boy growing up in the old Soviet Union, where...

Author's Publishing Notes

"My Life at First Try" came out from Counterpoint Press in November 2008. It's available in book stores nationwide and received good reviews from Kirkus Review, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and was featured in Ingram's Advance. It received 3.5 stars out of 4 from People Magazine (12/08/08).