Zinaida’s from Odessa, Ukraine, where they speak Russian outside of Russia. In the U.S., where they speak English outside England, she has met Valentine. Odessa, Zina’s motherland, is motherless, her mother having abandoned their family for the American dream. Now Zina and Valentine are returning to Odessa during the 2014 Ukrainian Spring (Euromaidan). In this place at this time, one’s tongue can determine whether one lives or dies. Two Big Differences is a story of navigating identity through language.
“The quality of Singleton’s prose also bears the rhythms and influences of some of the Soviet masters—Kataev, Olesha and, I’d venture, Dovlatov.”
–David Bezmozgis, author of Immigrant City