Six years ago, Nadia left her only daughter, Larisska, behind in war-torn Ukraine. Since then, she’s tried to bring her daughter to America, but she fears the reunion may bring even more problems.
Back in Ukraine, Nadia worked as a bookkeeper for a pipe manufacturing company, a job that not only helped her pay the bills, but also brought a dashing midlevel manager, the technolog, into her orbit. One afternoon of illicit pleasure on his desk leads to Nadia’s pregnancy, but the technolog has no intention of leaving his wife and daughter, so Nadia becomes a single mother. From birth, Larisska was anything but easy, refusing her own mother’s milk but accepting the neighbor’s. As tensions increase among western Ukrainians, separatists, and Russians, life in Nadia’s neighborhood begins disintegrating, and soon the pipe company is paying its employees in mandarin oranges, good for selling on the black market but not so good for diabetic Larisska. Once the technolog reveals that the company is closing, Nadia and Larisska’s application to leave Ukraine becomes even more urgent, but when their names finally reach the top of the list, 21-year-old Larisska has aged out, and Nadia chooses to go to America alone.. Devastated by her mother’s decision, Larisska rarely even Skypes or texts with Nadia. One night, however, Nadia’s friends convince her to go clubbing, and she concocts a scheme to get Larisska a green card—a scheme that will upturn Nadia’s own life and perhaps bring a bit of romance into it. Reyn (The Imperial Wife, 2016) deftly spins a web of heartache and memory around Nadia’s daily life. As she tries to handle the outrageous behavior of American toddlers and elderly Russian men with access to Viagra, her thoughts continually turn to her homeland.
A compassionate portrait of a mother aching with regrets yet brave enough to fight for her family.