Sana Krasikov's collection of short stories, One More Year, delves deep into the lives of characters trying to make it in the new Russia. Each story carries an underlying sense that the strong do what they will, and the weak do what they must.
But Krasikov doesn't consider her stories cynical, she says they're realistic.
"I think, if you're in Russia, you can't sometimes afford not to see it like that," she tells NPR's Michel Martin, as part of Tell Me More's summer BRICSION series.
Author Colin Cotterill believes in fate. Though he didn't know it at the time, fate seemed to determine early on that he would write the Dr. Siri books, a series of mysteries that follows a 70-something Laotian country coroner. (This piece initially aired August 15, 2008 on Morning Edition).