Mashinski seeks liberating oblivion in a space that neither cares about nor notices her presence. The “A-merica” of Mashinski’s experience, with the negating “A-,” is “neither this, not that, nor the other, but a trying of the otherness,” a laboratory of creative dissection and reassembly of the self. ... Mashinski’s book is a virtuosic gift that amply rewards repeated reading — and listening.
The Los Angeles Review of Books
Mashinski's memoir is magical.
World Literature Today
Luminous prose and poetry. <..> This is poetic prose at its best.
This longing to capture the world in language and in memory; this desire to hold the moment and make it indestructible—these animate The Naked World, a profound and powerful book. The Naked World is <..> strikingly cinematic.
The Banyan Review
Irina Mashinski’s The Naked World <..> is an impressive achievement in the hybrid genre. <It> illuminates not only the author’s past but also her way of seeing.
The Naked World is an extraordinary reflection on the impact of history and culture(s) on individuals in a family across generations, and the possibility of individuals to transcend or even escape from history.
<..>This larger message describes a human experience in the simultaneous fullness of its uniqueness and universality, which makes the reading of this collection a spiritual journey through beautiful verbal art. <..> Mashinski’s Naked World is truly a meditative experience, with luscious sounds, vivid images, and fresh metaphors leading readers along a path to a destination where they can make their own spiritual discoveries about time, and memory, and in doing so, perhaps learn something about their very own immigrations, be they literal or figurative.
This gorgeous ambitious text<..> settles us—and unsettles us—behind the eyes of a poet, a poet whose eyes are pierced by brilliant images of light, cold, fire and ice.<..> Mashinski’s myth is unsettling as the rhymes in which it is written.
Mashinski relaxes and luxuriates in her understanding of human nature – precisely what Soviet Communism sought to manipulate and ultimately destroy.<..> Mashinski’s work has the charm of a gifted child, one undefeated by experience and the crushing weight of history.
Like everything Irina Mashinski writes, The Naked World is exhilaratingly original.
That’s real poet’s prose — “the quiet craziness of the old ladies’ glasses, crisscrossed by telegraph cables and a few birds” — and I have to remind myself English isn’t her first language.
<The Naked World> is a beautiful, harrowing, and perhaps cautionary primer in legacy tragedy and survival. <..> Mashinski is that bird <from the poem “Before Dawn”> , carried by circumstance and necessity from place to place, pinned with hopes, striking the match of poetry to illuminate thresholds both physical and internal.
It’s a work which gets under the skin, leaving images lodged in the brain of forests and patterned wallpaper and wastelands and sunsets and a new world seen through the eyes of someone leaving a complex past behind.
Kaggsy's Bookish Ramblings
Part poetry, part flash fiction; part memoir, part imagination; part history, part fantasy. The Naked World is like a dream, images, and snatches of phrases wrestle with fact and trauma. It’s a story of survival, it’s a story of suffering. It’s a story of immigration, it’s a story of remaining stuck. It’s ephemeral and it stays with you. Did it happen to you? To someone else? To all of us?