The Suitcase

Sergei Dovlatov, The Suitcase

This short novel is a bitingly satirical look at life in Soviet Russia through an unusual lens.  A few years after emigrating from the USSR, the narrator discovers an old suitcase at the back of a cupboard; it contains the only clothes with which he had been allowed to leave the country.  Each chapter of the book is devoted to the circumstances in which he obtained one of the items in his suitcase, and offers an insight into the quirks of Soviet life, a long-forgotten relationship or a formative personal experience.  The stories are funny, irreverent and offer an insight into the life of a man who tries to play a corrupt system at its own game.