Born in Prague to Russian-Jewish parents, he emigrated with his parents and sister to Germany in 1970, when he was ten years old. After living for a long time in Munich, he now lives in Berlin.
In 2003 his novel Esra excited attention when its sale was prohibited shortly after its release. Two persons had a provisional order obtained, because they claimed to have seen themselves reflected in characters in the book. A German court obliged their request to take the book from circulation on these grounds.
His first works translated into English (by Anthea Bell) are the collection Love Today (2008), some of which appeared in The New Yorker – "" (July 2007), "" (September 2007).
Wenn ich einmal reich und tot bin : Erzählungen (Someday when I’m rich and dead : Narratives)