Open your atlas, spin your globe or power up Google maps, a search for the Kamchatka peninsula will take you far from home. In this remote Russian setting, two young girls, Sophia and Alyona Golosovskaya go missing from an afternoon playing on a beach. Ebbing and flowing around this pivotal event and moving through each month of the year that follows their disappearance, the lives of the residents of this isolated community play out, revealing the complexities of navigating post-Soviet Russia as well as the fate of the girls.
From its clever use of interwoven storylines and its beautiful descriptions of the environment to its nuanced examination of the sociocultural landscape, this is a thought-provoking and suspenseful story. [Small font]
This title is also offered as part of the Narrative Muse Book Club.
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This was a challenging read - more like a novella. The characters provided an insight into a world of the outlier isolated on a remote peninsula in a country none of us had travelled to. We all accepted that it was a clever narrative arc ending with the threads reconnecting.
Some of us thought this book was brilliant, while others were not at all impressed.
A very well-written book that was enjoyed by everyone in the group.
Everyone loved this book. Very good character development - especially female. It read more like a series of short stories. Interesting to read about an area of Russia unknown to us all.
Some felt it was a frustrating read. A revealing read of race, culture and relationships.
Another great read. Quite challenging to keep up with all the characters. It was an interesting topic being set in Russia. We wondered if, being written by an American, it was an accurate portrayal. Beautifully written and an engrossing read. Would recommend.
Most were disappointed with the ending being inconclusive. We enjoyed learning about a different part of the world, and were interested to learn of the prejudice against 1st nation people there too. Well-written.
Mixed reaction to this title. The depressive story lines and non conclusive endings to each chapter presented a frustrating challenge to those who like to "know what happened." The geographical setting led to some google searches and did provide an insight to the domestic situations portrayed.
Not an easy read but worthwhile and interesting; best to be looked at as a series of short stories rather than expecting a plot to develop....
Challenging, depressing, atmospheric, captured the geography, inconclusive ending, bleak, confusing... Despite these comments, it was awarded 4 stars due to its complexity.
An intriguing and absorbing read. Unusual approach which came off. We all enjoyed it.
This book was a great snapshot of life on the Russian Peninsula. Some of us found all the different characters a bit confusing.
Loved the setting, and life portrayed from Soviet rule through to the Putin era, but all struggled with the sheer number of characters. And astute as the author was at depicting social behaviours, it seemed she had too long a list of perilous situations to convey - could have done a mini-series! Sad and familiar plight of indigenous people and foreign workers well described. Much to discuss though - something in there for all to identify with.
Mixed feelings about this book. Members liked each individual story but felt frustrated by the lack of connection between the stories. Others loved it.
A very enjoyable book as a story. Some of the group found it a bit polarising as it seemed to them to be a collection of short stories almost, rather than a whole book. However not all saw it like this. Very good discussion. Clear cut decisions about it.
A very challenging book for most of us - unusually written with new characters in each chapter . Overall an ok read for most, but not an ordinary police search for 2 missing girls like we expected. A good look at violence, racism and how women are treated, and how over-powering some men can be.
Episodic collection of short stories linked together rather artificially. Doesn't really develop. Some interesting characters, and the setting shed light on aspects of Russia and the isolated Kamchatka peninsula.
We all agreed this was an excellent book. Very well-written. An interesting approach to telling the story, coming from a part of the world we knew very little about.
We all found the setting and era of this book very interesting, though depressing. Most found that following the characters and their names challenging...