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Location(s): Kiev (Kyiv)
Era(s): Early 1990s
An exhilarating, darkly atmospheric debut novel set in Kiev.
‘An unforgettable story. The claustrophobia is palpable, and the characters are utterly convincing in this beautifully observed novel. Outstanding.’ —Claire Fuller
‘Something terrible is happening here. Something terrible has already happened.’
Kiev 1992. Rachel, a troubled young English mother, joins her journalist husband on his first foreign posting in the city. Terrified of their apartment’s balcony, she develops obsessive rituals to keep her three-month old baby safe. Her difficulties expose her to a disturbing endgame between the elderly caretaker and a local racketeer who sends her a gift that surely comes with a price. Rachel is isolated yet culpable with her secrets and estrangements. As consequences bear down she seeks out Zoya, her husband’s fixer, and the boy from upstairs who spies on them all.
Home is uncertain, betrayal is everywhere, but in the end there are many ways to be a mother.
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