The Funeral Party by Ludmila Ulitskaya

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In a small apartment in New York, in the sweltering mid-summer heat, a group of Russian emigres gather around the sickbed of an artist named Alik. Nina, his wife, is desperate for Alik to be baptised; Irina, his ex-lover, a circus acrobat turned lawyer, quietly pays the bills; elderly Maria dispenses magical herbs; and Maika, Irinas fifteen-year-old daughter, prepares to lose the only man to make her laugh. As the visitors fuss and reminisce over Alik, in a corner of the crowded room the television shows the uprising outside the White House in Moscow and the tanks closing in on the city .