I Will Die in a Foreign Land by Kalani Pickhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'm one of many people who felt drawn to reading more about Ukraine.
This novel was already on my radar so I purchased it from Two Dollar
Publisher summary excerpt:
"[This novel] follows four
individuals over the course of a volatile Ukrainian winter, as their
lives are forever changed by the Euromaidan protests. Katya is a
Ukrainian-American doctor stationed at a makeshift medical clinic in St.
Michael’s Monastery; Misha is an engineer originally from Pripyat, who
has lived in Kyiv since his wife’s death; Slava is a fiery young
activist whose past hardships steel her determination in the face of
persecution; and Aleksandr Ivanovich, a former KGB agent, climbs atop a
burned-out police bus at Independence Square and plays the piano."
in 2013-14 but also rooted in the complexities of the past (from the
mythical Rus to Cossacks to Chernobyl), alternating viewpoints include
the four characters plus news articles, cassette recordings, songs, and
more. It's very readable and brings the reader into the intimacy of the
recent past for Ukraine. Honestly I was trying to read non-fiction about
Stalin's war on Ukraine and was drawn back into fiction instead.
author is not Ukrainian but is donating all proceeds of the book to
relief orgs benefitting Ukrainian people at the time of this review.
friend said they couldn't tell if I liked the book and my feelings are
mixed - it has many techniques I like, the rotating perspectives, the
various format types, the short chapters, the tidbits that send me off
on research projects, for instance listening to the bells of St.
Michaels in 2013 on YouTube (only the second time they were played as
part of a conflict, the previous time was with the Mongols!) But it
feels weird to say I liked a novel about a previous conflict when the
country it's about it in such turmoil now with people dead in the
street. It even took me a while to read because I struggled to return to
a setting that doesn't even exist as it's described because of the
Russian invasion, and the book is set only 8 years in the past. I can be
quite the emotional reader sometimes.
This book has come up a few times on the Reading Envy podcast this year, and will also be mentioned on episode 245.
author is not from Ukraine but is a bit of a subject matter expert, and
also published this list of suggested books to read to learn more.
View all my reviews