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IN BRIEF

Fiction

August 18, 1991|Don G. Campbell

A FOREIGN WOMAN by Sergei Dovlatov, translated by Antonina W. Bouis (Grove Weidenfeld: $16.95; 128 pp.). This latest work by contemporary Russian satirist Sergei Dovlatov firmly establishes him as a wry storyteller with a tongue of formidable proportions in his cheek. The setting is the Russian section of Queens, N.Y., with characters and actions swirling around Marusya Tatarovich and her young son by a previous husband. Marusya manages to stumble through life in this odd country with delightful aplomb, and the climax comes when, with a great to-do, she elects to marry her current live-in, an off-beat Latino ne'er-do-well. Nothing of great moment happens in this novel of whimsical characters who bounce off the irrepressible Marusya, but that's largely the charm of it all. And who else should show up, unexpectedly, as the surprise wedding guest but the real-life author, Sergei Dovlatov himself? Why not? Who has a greater interest than he in how things turn out?

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