An exquisite portrait of mothers and daughters that reaches from Cold War Russia to modern-day New Jersey, from the author of A Mountain of Crumbs.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WILLIAM SAROYAN INTERNATIONAL PRIZE FOR WRITING
‘Incredibly powerful … by the time you reach the end, you’ll have experienced the laughter, sorrow, joy, regret, love and hurt of a real life.’ Alan Alda
‘The possibility of leaving Russia was never as thrilling as the prospect of leaving my mother.’
When Elena Gorokhova arrives in America, the only link back to her Russian past is a suitcase filled with twenty kilograms of what used to be her life. Navigating a country she had been taught to fear, Elena begins to carve out a new life in an unfamiliar world.
Before the birth of Elena's daughter, her mother comes to visit and stays for twenty-four years. Elena, must struggle with the challenge of raising an American daughter whilst living with her controlling mother, a mirror image of her Motherland.
Russian Tattoo is the story of what it means to be an outsider, and what happens when the cultures of our past and present collide. Above all, it is an insightful portrait of mothers and daughters.
“Full of vivid imagery and memorable description, this is a wonderful trip into existential bewilderment ... As a sequel or a stand-alone, Russian Tattoo is compelling, colourful and hugely enjoyable.”
“This incredibly powerful book slips into your unconscious with charm and warmth and then grabs you by the gut. By the time you reach the end, you’ll have experienced the laughter, sorrow, joy, regret, love and hurt of a real life. And you’ll have a lump in your throat the size of Petersburg. With a magical command of language, Elena Gorokhova has painted images on my brain I won’t forget, as if I’d lived those moments myself. Because, somehow, I did.”
Alan Alda, bestselling author of Never Have Your Dog Stuffed
“Written with a novelist’s touch ... Gorokhova weaves a rich tapestry of meaning, juxtaposing her current situation with her previous life experience ... The descriptions of life in Leningrad make the memoir a fascinating insight into life behind the Iron Curtain ... Gorokhova’s honesty and unflinching rendering of her life’s trials and tribulations are testament to her writing skill ... One of the most touching memoirs I’ve ever read; I defy you not to shed a tear.”
“An affecting and beautifully written meditation on the mother-daughter bond; and on being inextricably caught in limbo between two worlds”
Editorâ??s Choice, The Bookseller
“Russian Tattoo is the story of an immigrant, of leaving what you know and love. It is the story of mothers and daughters, of three generations of strong women battling for control. It is about loss and grief, wounds that sever our souls in half and never heal. It is ultimately the story of love, forgiveness, and the desire to belong. ”
Anya von Bremzen, author of Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking