"In Lisa Birnbaum’s Worthy, once we climb aboard the angular poetry of Ludmila’s acquired language, her story claims us with its vivid parade of tribulations; it’s often like a traveling game of musical chairs as her pretty options diminish—and then sometimes re-appear! Key is that the setbacks do not set her back for long. She is a heroine worthy of the old school—retaining her stamina and optimism as she confronts every obstacle in her American education."

— Ron Carlson, author of Return to Oakpine



"Worthy, a free-ranging Eastern European in the West, is among the most memorable characters I have ever encountered in literature… An astonishing, brilliant book."

— Kelly Cherry, author of Twelve Women in a Country Called America: Stories



"Worthy will entrance anyone with the pirouette and yearning of a reinvented English, the unrelenting gaze of a storyteller whose capacity for new lives is remarkable. Lisa Birnbaum’s novel is a strange tapestry of comic and heartbreaking magic. "

— Susan Straight, author of Between Heaven and Here