Episode 97 — Oksana Marafioti


Oksana Marafioti is today’s guest.  She’s the author of a new memoir called American Gypsy, now available from Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.

Kirkus calls it

Engaging . . . Marafioti describes with humor and introspection how the self-described ‘Split Nationality Disorder’ she experienced growing up only magnified upon her family’s emigration from the former Soviet Union to Los Angeles when she was 15 . . . [Her] probing observation of the contrast of American individualism with fierce Roma ethnocentrism, even xenophobia, yields a provocative exploration of identity. Contrasting cultural values shine in this winning contemporary immigrant account of assimilation versus individuation.

And Booklist calls it

[A] wry, unforgettable memoir.

Topics of conversation include: gypsies, Romani culture, insults, education, home-schooling, trigonometry, socialization, music, trains, tour buses, fame, Soviet Union, nomadic existence, alcohol, fighting, stadiums, Moscow, singing, Johnny Cash, ‘Rainbow Connection,’ Willie Nelson, ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow,’ classical piano, Malcolm Gladwell, face reading, prejudice, VHS, Betamax, parenting, infantilization, comic books, Batman, self, identity, midlife crisis, collapse, Rome, reading, books, Fifty Shades of Grey, wisdom of crowds, Twilight, B.B. King, immigration, psychics, exorcisms, Los Angeles, karaoke, Las Vegas, divorce, Hollywood High School, empathy, struggle, fear, pain, romance novels, slut machines, film school, work, and energy.

Monologue topics:  Episode 97, Episode 100, my sisters, birthdays, elevators, sadness, reality television, confronting people in confined spaces, ‘What’s Goin’ On?’, Marvin Gaye, neutral facial expressions, and dancing shit-faced.