Using the fine strokes of his familiar melancholic narrative, in Learning Cyrillic Albahari offers us an entire palette of finesses in this masterful portrait of identity. Against the background of the immigrant experience, the author presents us cameos which show the multi-faceted relationships of his characters with their surroundings. Here we have the intimate workings of the marital matrix, the gap (or exchange…) between generations, the relationship between a newcomer in the New World with the Native Americans, the struggle between the retention of one’s devotion to birthplace and the need to fit into one’s adopted homeland – the contrasts are stark and thought-provoking. Albahari’s short stories in this volume echo with the contemporary theme of our loss of and subsequent search for identity. Presented with his particular flare for the ironic and subtle, these stories are simply breathtaking.
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