I Will Die in a Foreign Land
by Pickhart, Kalani






Follows four individuals over the course of a volatile Ukrainian winter, as their lives become intertwined and are forever changed by the Euromaidan protests triggered by President Yanukovych's choosing to align with Russia instead of the European Union in 2013.





In this sweeping debut novel, readers are transported inside the 2013-14 Ukrainian battle to maintain independence under pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. The story follows four individuals in Kyiv and their intertwining lives as peaceful protests are escalated to violence by the police in Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Independence Square. Katya is a Ukrainian-American doctor who has come to help the people of her native country and distract herself from her crumbling life and marriage in Boston. Misha, a miner from Pripyat, Chernobyl survivor, and widower, has an unyielding devotion to his homeland. Activist Slava has always identified the personal as political, priming her for the tragedies of early 2014. Finally, there's the Captain, an ailing older man who plays piano in the square for protesters, with a lifetime of political secrets of his own. Their love stories and their grief breathe life into Pickhart's meticulously researched depictions of Ukraine's struggle. The action unfolds at breakneck pace, making for an unforgettable reading experience and a critical lesson in ongoing global history. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.





The lives of four people intersect during the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution. In February 2014, Ukrainian police fired into a crowd of protesters in Kyiv, killing more than 100 civilians who were demonstrating against the nation's president, Viktor Yanukovych. While Yanukovych would eventually be removed from power, the massacre has been etched into the memories of people across Ukraine and the rest of Europe. The mass shootings, and the protests that preceded it, form the plot of Pickhart's disquieting debut novel, which follows four people at the center of the demonstrations. There's Katya, an American doctor treating wounded protesters at a Kyiv monastery; she's left the U.S. after the death of her young child and the resulting decay of her marriage. She finds herself treating Aleksandr, a former KGB spy who plays piano for the protesters, haunted by his own past as a Soviet who participated in the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. Misha, an engineer still mourning the death of his wife, takes part in the protests along with an activist named Slava, his former lover-turned-sister figure: "She wasn't his, he wasn't hers, but they were together. For years now, a cobbled family." As the violence in Kyiv worsens, the characters find their lives thrown into terrible disarray, with Katya's thoughts returning to her late child and Slava falling in love with a lesbian filmmaker. The novel ends where it must, and Pickhart doesn't pull any punches; this is an unremittingly dark novel, but it's never exploitative. Pickhart employs an unusual structure, with switching points of view punctuated by a kind of Greek chorus courtesy of Kobzari, old Ukrainian singers who were killed by the Russian czar for singing in their own language. Innovative, emotionally resonant, and deeply affecting, this is a more-than-promising debut from a very talented writer. An excellent debut from an author who's bursting with talent. Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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