His name is Mamish. Or, in Azerbaijani, Mahmed. Or, if you're going to be really Moscow-like official, Mahomet, Anyway, Mamish drills for oil on an offshore rig on Lake Baku but always comes up dry with the great love of his life, Rena. She just drops him--no excuses made, no explanations. But when Mamish's cousin Gulbala calls him over for a tell-all session, the truth outs: Gulbala heisted Rena's heart, and then Gulbala's father, the powerful and randy commissar Hasai, took the girl in turn from him. Family treachery--ah-hah! Mamish confronts Hasai and comes away with a beating for his pains. And the final revenge is a touch sad. If the Azerbaijani names don't get you flustered, Guseinov's fractured and parenthetical style may. But that style is also jaunty, and the reader who hangs in there and surrenders to the strangeness here will find this a fairly bright Candide-like tale brought off with a modicum of peppy, albeit confusing, dash.