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Ross Ufberg is a writer, translator, PhD candidate at Columbia University in the Slavic Department, and cofounder of New Vessel Press, a publishing house which specializes in foreign literature in translation. His fiction and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in the Jewish Daily Forward, World Literature Today, Heeb, Habitus, Inventory, and Modern Poetry in Translation, among others. Memoirs of A Gulag Actress, a translation from the Russian with Yasha Klots, was published by Northern Illinois University Press (NIUP) in 2010; Beautiful Twentysomethings, a translation from Polish of the memoir of the writer Marek Hlasko, is forthcoming from NIUP. His translation of Moldovan author Vladimir Lorchenkov's Russian-language novel The Good Life Elsewhere, from which this piece was excerpted, is forthcoming from New Vessel Press.