“Bracing and lyrical . . . Reminds us that the eyes of the immigrant and the artist alike can make the familiar seem strange and the strange familiar.” —Kevin Birmingham, New York Times–bestselling author
In a debut novel that is both beautiful and devastating, author River Adams portrays the kaleidoscopic journey of a Soviet refugee leaving her past behind, while at the same time learning to embrace it in an unfamiliar country.
Orphaned when she is just three years old, Dinah Ash is raised by her beloved grandmother in 1970s Leningrad. A musical child, she finds solace in the comforts of home—the snowy winters, mugs of fresh kvass, the smell of her Babby’s cabbage soup, and summers spent in Ukraine. But as her world expands, so does her knowledge of who she is: a Soviet Jew. And she is never allowed to forget it.
After being recruited to a prestigious ballet school, Dinah finds success and love—to a point. Being Jewish, she is not allowed to tour internationally with the company. Her Catholic fiancé seems to hide her from his parents before he dies fighting in Afghanistan. And then, as a virulent wave of Nazism overtakes the country, she has no choice but to flee . . .
Sponsored by a Jewish community in Philadelphia, Dinah begins to fit the pieces of herself together—and to dance again. Finding her footing isn’t easy, but every step forward gives her the strength to persevere as she struggles with new questions of racism, religion, and identity . . .