The adventures of two young Russian immigrants in the US are the stuff of this would-be comic first novel from a recent (1976) Russian Ã‰migrÃ‰. When a coup d'Ã‰tat in the African nation of Pizdo removes it from Russian influence, the world's only expert on Pizdo, Muscovite Oleg Dubinsky, is out of a job. Prompted by his black-marketeer pal Slava Rothman, he decides to turn his back on his comfortable ""life of lies"" and emigrate. Claiming an invitation from a nonexistent uncle in Israel, Dubinsky begins the ""paper chase"" that, after enough palms have been greased, finally yields an exit visa; Slava then prepares to follow him, and the paper chase is tediously duplicated. Dubinsky makes an inauspicious start in the American marketplace, as a file clerk, whereas Slava, giving himself a new first name (""Clive means class""), gets right to work wheeling and dealing. He gets burned first time out, trying to make money the clean way, but is soon doing what comes naturally: manipulating the stock-market price of pizdorvanium and bribing a Pizdoan official. This leaves Dubinsky with little to do except drink Bloody Marys, make fumbling advances to various ladies, and ease into the role of schlemiel. He winds up in Seattle with a teaching job, a permanent relationship, and the strength to say no when Slava (now a convicted felon for his role in the Pizdo seam) suggests new overseas adventures. Gurewich's Russia is the familiar one of booze, corruption and a bloated bureaucracy; his America is so blurred as to be unassimilable. Lacking inventiveness and a sharp comic vision, and squandering its one bright notion of a Russian rogue learning new American tricks, his picaresque just droops and dies.