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No Country for Love

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9780349145310

Price: £20

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‘An expansive novel reminiscent of the literary breadth, humanity, and historical depth found in Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate’ Christophe Boltanski, winner of the 2015 Prix Femina for The Safe House

‘A captivating sweep of a novel about love, resilience and impossible choices… I loved it!’ Christina Lamb, chief foreign correspondent Sunday Times

Seventeen-year-old Debora Rosenbaum, ambitious and in love with literature, arrives in the capital of the new Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Kharkiv, to make her own fate as a modern woman. The stale and forbidding ways of the past are out; 1930 is a new dawn, the Soviet era, where skyscrapers go up overnight. Debora finds work and meets a dashing young officer named Samuel who is training to become a fighter pilot. They fall in love, and begin to mix with Ukraine’s new cultural elite.

But Debora’s prospects – and Ukraine’s – soon dim. State-induced famine rolls through the over-harvested countryside, and any deviation from Moscow-dictated ideology is punished by disappearance. When Samuel is sentenced to ten years’ hard labour, Deborah is left on her own with a baby. And this is only the beginning. As advancing Nazi armies move through Ukraine during World War II, its yellow fields of wheat run red with blood. Forced to renounce the man she loves, her identity and even her name, Debora also learns to endure, manipulate and resist.

No Country for Love follows the hard choices Debora makes as Ukraine, caught between two totalitarian ideologies, turns into the deadliest place in the world – while she tries to protect those she loves most.

A sweeping, stunningly ambitious novel about a young Ukrainian girl arriving in Kharkiv in 1930, determined to contribute to the future of her country, and her struggle to survive the devastation and trauma that ravage Ukraine.


A captivating sweep of a novel about love, resilience and impossible choices in a Ukraine caught between Soviets and Nazism and riven by war - I loved it!
Christina Lamb, chief foreign correspondent Sunday Times
A chilling account of what it means to live under a totalitarian regime. With the sharp pen of an award-winning journalist and the tender heart of a poet, Yaroslav Trofimov has woven an exquisite and enduring tale of survival, courage, and resistance. Epic yet intimate, heart-breaking yet hopeful, terrifying yet inspiring, No Country for Love is a love letter to Ukraine and a gift to anyone who appreciates peace
Nguyen Phan Que Mai, internationally best-selling author of The Mountains Sing and Dust Child
A beautiful, important and timely rendering of Jewish life in Ukraine through the travails of the 20th century. Both historical and page-turning
Gary Shteyngart, author of Our Country Friends and Super Sad True Love Story
At a time when many people are scrambling to understand Ukraine, No Country for Love gives us the story of the country's painful twentieth century as a sweeping romantic epic. It links the personal and the political in a way that cuts through wartime propaganda, restoring both human scale and moral complexity.
Hari Kunzru
Through the saga of a Jewish Ukrainian family unfolding from the 1930's until the post war, Yaroslav Trofimov delivers a literary epic taking place on the "bloodlands" - to borrow the title from Timothy Snyder's book - scarred from the Nazi and Stalinist atrocities. It is an expansive novel reminiscent of the literary breath, the humanity, and the historical density found in Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate
Christophe Boltanski, winner of the 2015 Prix Femina for La Cache
Tough, lean, and unsentimental, No Country for Love is a powerful moral testament that reads like a thriller, as its impressive heroine learns to do what is necessary, day by day, in order to endure one of the most harrowing passages of the 20th century. It is also an unsparing account of the tribulations of ordinary Ukrainians, from the Holomodor, through the horrors of World War II, to the death of Stalin. By turns terrifying, tender, and inspiring, this gripping and necessary novel illuminates the origins of a story whose latest chapters are being played out before the world even today
James Hynes, author of Next and Sparrow