Kidnapped: A Story in Crimes by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, translated by Marian Schwartz

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Set in the 1980s and '90s, Kidnapped focuses on the life of Alina, a promising language student who must drop her academic career because of an unplanned pregnancy. Alina decides to give up a baby for adoption after birth and is set to leave the hospital alone. In the hospital she meets another girl, Masha, who is happily looking forward to the childbirth and speaks up of her life plans with the husband in a republic in South Asia.

When Masha dies in childbirth, Alina impulsively exchanges the babies' name bracelets in an attempt to send her newborn son away from the dull reality of Soviet life. But then the unthinkable happens: Masha's husband asks Alina to falsify her identity and come with him in the foreign service. Full of twists and turns, Kidnapped results in a drama worthy of a daytime soap opera: medical deceit, identity scams and falsified death abound. Despite it all, Alina survives against all odds in unthinkable circumstances, sure above all that she will learn to be a good mother.