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David Bezmozgis is a celebrated Canadian writer who is known to write within the theme of immigration, a lived experience for many of Bezmozgis’ compatriots. Revered for his work with short stories, film and novels, his effective writing style places the reader in the presence, yet at a distance of the narrative characters, and reads like a fly on the wall in a new story that is as old as time. Bezmozgis has explained that his method includes thinking about certain conversations in Russian and then translating them into English in his mind so it’s no surprise that his writing carries a European rhythm to his stories, with the infusion of Russian syntax in English language storytelling.
This kind of infusion is the personification of Bezmozgis himself, who at the age of 6 years and in the company of 8 kinfolk that made up 3 generations of his immediate family, fled Russia. Upon arriving in Rome in a stopgap, with no clear destination for resettlement, the Bezmozgis family’s choice to make Canada home was retold in his first novel The Free World – a decision decided by the utterance of the words “Da, Da Kanada; Nyet, Nyet Soviet!” in a stairwell. Seven years later, the family arrived in Canada in 1980 and sought refuge amongst the flourishing Russian Jewish community along Bathurst Street in Toronto’s North York. As the Bezmozgis family was settling into their new Canadian life, David pursued a B.A. in English Literature at McGill University and subsequently an M.F.A. from the USC’s School of Cinema-Television. The dual modalities of his attainments speaks to the visual nature of his beloved literature.
While still in school, Bezmozgis’ writing begot awards and recognition that made him a literary star and elevated him to the wonderful company of other young Jewish writers like Jonathan Safran Foer, Nicole Krauss, Michael Chabon, Dara Horn, and Nathan Englander – just to mention a few.