When the Russian-born American poet Joseph Brodsky won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1987, he was asked whether he thought of himself as an American or a Russian writer. “I am Jewish — a Russian poet and an English essayist,” he replied. Born into a Jewish family in Leningrad in 1940, he was exiled in 1972 on charges of “parasitism” and moved to the United States, where he became a citizen in 1977.
Whether to his regret or relief, Brodsky never returned to the Soviet Union. In “A Room and a Half,” Russian animator and director Andrey Khrzhanovsky imagines what Brodsky’s return might have been like. As critic and novelist Sonya Chung describes it for The Millions: