The Rooster House (inbunden)
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Virago Press Ltd

The Rooster House

A Ukrainian Family Memoir

Inbunden,  Engelska, 2023-05-18
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A RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK 'Wild Swans for Ukraine ... rich and magnificent' Bookseller 'A paean to hope and home. I loved it and it will haunt me' HELEN MACDONALD 'Marvellously vivid and often heartbreaking... I read it in a single enthralled sitting' MIRANDA SEYMOUR 'An instant classic: an essential book in these darkening times' SOPHY ROBERTS 'Compelling, beautifully written... an insight into the complexity of Ukraine's history' MERIEL SCHINDLER In the Ukrainian city of Poltava stands a building known as the Rooster House, an elegant mansion with two voluptuous red roosters flanking the door. It doesn't look horrifying. And yet, when Victoria was a girl growing up in the 1980s, her great-grandmother would take pains to avoid walking past it. In 2014, while the Russian state was annexing Crimea, Victoria visited her grandmother in Bereh, the hamlet near Poltava that was a haven in her childhood. Just before the trip she came across her great-grandfather's diary, one page scored deep with the single line: 'Brother Nikodim, vanished in the 1930s fighting for a free Ukraine.' She had never heard of this uncle and no one - especially her grandmother - seemed willing to tell her about him. Victoria became obsessed with recovering his story, and returned to her birth country again and again in pursuit of it. In the end, after years of sifting through Ukraine's post-Soviet bureaucracy, after travelling to tiny, ruined villages and speaking to the wizened survivors of that era, her winding search took her back to the place she had always known it would - to the Rooster House, and the dark truths contained in its basement. Inspired by the author's love for her family, and peopled by warm, larger-than-life characters who jostle alongside the ghostly absences of others, The Rooster House is at once a riveting journey into the complex history of a wounded country and a profoundly moving tribute to hope and the refusal of despair.
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A moving personal journey unravelling complex family relationships, secrets and memories. Belim takes us into the homes of rural Ukrainians, illuminating their hopes, fears, struggles and traditions. Her love of the country and its people stands out in her sensitive depiction of their stoicism, hospitality and bonds... This is an honest, insightful and passionate book, that provides a beautiful insight into a nation beyond war headlines -- Tom Pilgrim * Independent * Sparkles with details of rural life and Soviet-inherited bureaucratic absurdity ... a moving account of a still much-misunderstood country, given extra poignancy by the disaster now unfolding * New Statesman * Ethereal and transporting ... Ukraine comes alive through a tapestry of multisensory descriptions. Barbed by pain, this is a book as poignant as it is timely ... it reflects the indestructible strength of the Ukrainian people, who so fiercely hold on to hope * Times Literary Supplement * A Wild Swans for Ukraine ... an enthralling, multilayered family story, told across four generations. Rich and magnificent. A marvel * Bookseller * Part memoir, part detective story ... [this] picture of a divided Ukrainian family shows how deep the divisions can be - and how to heal them means overcoming decades of silence, secrecy and denial -- Blake Morrison * Guardian * Emotionally shattering yet utterly unputdownable, Belim's search to find out what happened to her great-grandfather's brother in 1930s Ukraine is a haunting work of research and revelation * Waterstones * A powerful memoir... tells the story of Ukraine through the lens of her own family, from WWII occupation to Chernobyl - to the trauma of today * Irish Examiner * A beautifully written evocation of the Ukrainian people through the prism of four generations of one family, but it is also a celebration of Ukrainian women... evokes a Ukraine beyond the rubble-strewn images we see on the television news... a truly redemptive book, strangely joyful even, one that makes the tragedy of the Russian invasion personal * New European * Ukraine comes alive through a tapestry of multisensory descriptions... Such descriptions are ethereal and transporting, but Belim balances them with a raw bluntness in her sketches of war and trauma... a book as poignant as it is timely... it reflects the indestructible strength of the Ukrainian people, who so fiercely hold on to hope -- Caroline Eden * Times Literary Supplement * The Rooster House is so many things at once, and all of them pull at my heart. The book is a seriously beautiful evocation of an imperilled nation and an account of a personal quest to retrieve the memories and secrets that families and states maintain. It's a careful meditation on exile, on return and belonging, and what it means to be. And most of all it's a paean to hope and home, written with such gentleness and deep adherence to emotional truth that to me its words become a fierceness to cast against harm, hardship and hurt. I loved it and it will haunt me for a long time. * Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk * The familiar village symbol of a rooster on the roof hides a dark secret in Victora Belim's marvellously vivid and often heartbreaking account of a personal quest, one that leads us deep into the complexities that lie behind news headlines while introducing us to an unforgettable group of characters. I read it in a single enthralled sitting * Miranda Seymour, author of I Used to Live Here Once: The Haunted Life of Jean Rhys * A haunting quest - beautifully told, with stunning momentum - travelling through place, history, and private memory on the fraying edge of Europe. I loved this book: the voice, the determination, the pace, the characters, the insights into exile and belonging, into remembering and forgetting. A book where the search for truth shines so brightly, The Rooster House feels like an instant classic: an essential book in these darkening times. * Sophy

Övrig information

Victoria Belim is a writer, journalist, and translator of Persian literature and poetry. She has a column in the Financial Times and her writing on culture and lifestyle topics has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, ELLE, Red Magazine, and Marie Claire. She speaks eighteen languages, including Japanese, Turkish, and Indonesian. Born in Ukraine, Victoria grew up in the USA and now lives in Brussels, Belgium.