Thursday, February 8, 2018

Book Review: 'Mr Right for Kurt and My Other Experiments' by Grigory Ryzhakov

Siberian explant living in the UK Grigory Rzyhakov is a molecular biologist by profession, having received his Masters in biochemistry from Moscow State and his PhD in molecular biology from Cambridge University. In his free time, he writes fiction and blogs on various topics, including Russian literature, and writes music under the name Grisha McArrow. In his accomplished book - THE READERS MINI-GUIDE TO NEW RUSSIAN BOOKS - he succeeded to quench the thirst for knowledge about Russian literature and to introduce post-Soviet literature to wider international audiences. To make this guide read not completely like an encyclopedia, he connected book descriptions with Russian life to tell a story. Russia has a controversial political image, and, in Grigory's opinion, Russian literature can show the essence of his country far better than any media sword-fights. His intention is to inform readers about Russia through the prism of Russian stories.

The young blue-eyed Grigory also spreads his talent for writing into other areas, this book being another in his ‘British Chick Lit’ series – an opportunity to display not only his technical skills but also his keen gene for comedic writing. His immediate access to British humor is evident: for the 24 chapters of this book he names each for a fruit or flower or vegetable or seed, supplanting that with the genus and species name (the scientist in him wins out).

The scope of Chloe’s ‘experiments’ is summarized in the synopsis: ‘ ‘Mr Right for Kurt & My Other Experiments’ is a sequel to ‘Mr Right & Mr Wrong’. Both books are social satire and light-hearted comedies about a modern, young female scientist. Having found her Prince Charming, Chloe makes herself busy with her other project – finding Mr Right for her housemate, Kurt. Things get a little tricky when Chloe discovers a dating app for gay men, Grindr. Hilarity ensues! Meanwhile, spring is claiming London and Chloe is starting her Master’s project on bioremediation of soils at the Department of Plant Science, Imperial College, where she meets her new colleagues – sassy Zofia and a flirty hipster called Andy who, by the way, has a secret and glamorous alter ego. After a visit by a BBC TV crew to the institute, Chloe becomes a celebrity on Twitter. But glory invites disaster over a cup of tea. Gay matchmaking isn't Chloe's forte, so now what? Parties, gigs and piss-ups continue to be Chloe’s life, along with the added bonus of inhumane hours in the lab. Little does she know that the country’s top TV show is about to invite her for a chat. Surprises await.’

Pure fun from a very bright young author with a quick wit and the ability to scribe parody well. It seems whatever he decides to write, we, the readers, are the winners. Grady Harp, May 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.