Druzhnikov captures the excitements and fascinations and commitments of youth and the nostalgia and perspective of age. He links past and present in different ways, through memories, visits to childhood locations, physical objects, and encounters with old acquaintances.
Some of the stories involve quite dark material — the conscription of Oleg's father, whom his family never saw again, or the brutal end of a bully — but they are never bleak, with the adult framing always positive and the third-person narrative helping the reader maintain a distance. Nor, despite plenty of opportunity, does Druzhnikov force a response by over-plucking the emotional strings, maintaining an intellectual clarity, even precision, in his approach.
Passport to Yesterday is a lightly handled, elegiac evocation of both a childhood and the memories of that childhood.