Mother Country: A Novel

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Starred reviews from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly

Award-winning author Irina Reyn explores what it means to be a mother in a world where you can't be with your child

Nadia's daily life in south Brooklyn is filled with small indignities: as a senior home attendant, she is always in danger of being fired; as a part-time nanny, she is forced to navigate the demands of her spoiled charge and the preschooler's insecure mother; and as an ethnic Russian, she finds herself feuding with western Ukrainian immigrants who think she is a traitor.

The war back home is always at the forefront of her reality. On television, Vladimir Putin speaks of the "reunification" of Crimea and Russia, the Ukrainian president makes unconvincing promises about a united Ukraine, while American politicians are divided over the fear of immigration. Nadia internalizes notions of "union" all around her, but the one reunion she has been waiting six years for - with her beloved daughter - is being eternally delayed by the Department of Homeland Security. When Nadia finds out that her daughter has lost access to the medicine she needs to survive, she takes matters into her own hands.

Mother Country is Irina Reyn's most emotionally complex, urgent novel yet. It is a story of mothers and daughters and, above all else, resilience.

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About the author

Irina Reyn is the author of What Happened to Anna K and The Imperial Wife. She is also the editor of the anthology Living on the Edge of the World: New Jersey Writers Take on the Garden State. She has reviewed books for the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, The Forward, and other publications. Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in One Story, Tin House, Ploughshares, Town & Country Travel and Poets & Writers. She teaches fiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Brooklyn, NY.
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4.0
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Additional Information

Publisher
Thomas Dunne Books
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Published on
Feb 26, 2019
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781466887374
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Women
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Silver medal winner of the 28th (2016) Benjamin Franklin Awards for Best New Voice in Fiction.

Gold medal winner of the 4th (2015) Beverly Hills International Book Awards for Literary Fiction.

Gold medal winner of the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards for First Novel.

Anna, who has always lived under the microscopic judgment of her narcissistic mother, is a Russian immigrant on the verge of turning forty and a single mother of a headstrong teenage daughter. After a life-long succession of regrettable choices and a slew of bad relationships, Anna gives up hope of finding her better half—until she meets David. Their all-consuming love seems timeless and everlasting, but both of their pasts just might destroy their future. 

A moving tale of three generations of Russian women living in New York City, of fate and love, of bonds that shape and shadow our lives. Crossing generations and continents, Sophia’s narrative details, with uncompromising candor, the joys and hardships of an immigrant renting an apartment in a shabby-chic neighborhood, where the long-buried tensions that fester among families begin to surface in unexpected ways and change the family forever.  

Engrossing, unpredictable, and moving, the novel will make you laugh out loud one moment and swallow back tears the next. In the vein of Vladimir Nabokov, Mikhail Bulgakov, and Leo Tolstoy, About Anna… presents a rich narrative about a life in which the road to forgiveness is hard—and the path to self-acceptance is even harder. Delanner’s complex characters will resonate with you long after the final page is turned.

"Waclawiak's novel reinvents the immigration story. How to Get Into the Twin Palms movingly portrays a protagonist intent on both creating and destroying herself, on burning brightly even as she goes up in smoke."
-New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

"The novel is beautifully written and so suffused with loneliness it makes you ache. Not only is How to Get into the Twin Palms about the overwhelming state that is displacement, it's about what happens when loneliness becomes unbearable. Waclawiak writes through these tensions so elegantly, so tenderly, that How to Get Into the Twin Palms is, by far, one of my favorite books this year."
-The Rumpus

"Masked by scenes of schmancy nightlife is a story about an immigrant wanting to belong. Barely getting by in LA on bingo-calling, Anya reinvents herself. With hair dye and a push-up bra, she tries to gain entry into the Twin Palms nightclub."
-Marie Claire

"A taut debut... [that] strikes with the creeping suddenness of a brush fire."
-Publishers Weekly (*starred*)

How to Get Into the Twin Palms is the story of Anya, a young woman living alone in a Russian neighborhood in Los Angeles, who struggles to retain her parents’ Polish culture while trying to assimilate into her newly adopted community.

Anya stalks the nearby Twin Palms nightclub, the pinnacle of exclusivity in the Russian community. Desperate not only to gain entrance into the club but to belong there, Anya begins a perilous pursuit for Lev, a Russian gangster who frequents the seemingly impenetrable world of the Twin Palms.

Karolina Waclawiak received her MFA in Fiction from Columbia University. She is Deputy Editor of The Believer and lives and writes in Brooklyn.


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