"This is a novel about mothers and daughters - from the 1970s to the near present - and stretching from the corrupt hospitals and semi-legal whisky stores of small-town Ukraine to the queer scene in Berlin . . . a capacious novel . . . certainly not short on vibrancy and humour" - TLS
What did the disintegration of the Soviet Union feel like for the people who lived through it? Award-winning writer Sasha Salzmann tells this story in a remarkable novel about two women in extraordinary times
As a child, Lena longs to pick hazelnuts in the woods with her grandmother but is raised as a good socialist: sent to Pioneer summer camps where she's taught to worship Lenin, and sing songs in praise of the glorious Soviet Union. But perestroika is coming, her corner of the USSR is now called Ukraine, and corruption and patronage are now the only ways to get ahead - to secure a place at university, an apartment, treatment for a sick baby.
For Tatjana, the shock of the new means the first McDonalds in the Soviet Union and certified foreign whisky, but no food in the shops; it means terrible choices about who to love. Eventually both women must decide whether to stay or to emigrate, but the trauma they carry is handed down to their daughters, struggling to make sense of their own identities.