Oleg Nemets' situation resembles that of the situation of the new Russia, his homeland. Oleg's unexplained loss of his father in World War II is the experience everything centers on; as similarly, Russia has been abruptly cut off from its historical and ideological pasts. Both Oleg and Russia find themselves in a new world with little from the past to guide them. Oleg takes to art. He becomes an exceptional violin player who travels the world, living in San Francisco after a while. But his art, no matter how much he puts into it and how successful he is with it, does not bring a complete satisfaction to him. Rather, because of it, he is drawn back to Russia, the source of the sense of loss he cannot overcome. This underlies the main character's situation. But Druzhnikov does not dwell on it in a heavy way. Oleg is a bright, energetic, hopeful character whose attempts to bring past and present together are dealt with in a spirited and often comic way. Dialogue is occasionally zany, characters eccentric, and Oleg's thoughts ad observations clever and witty. Author Druzhnikov is a best-selling Russian author who has gained international notice and is currently a Professor of Russian Literature at the U. of California-Davis.