Four teens in the 1980’s are all living in the last days of the USSR. However, none have the exact same experiences.
Told by Anya, whose parents have a dacha and an apple orchard and food to eat. Best friend Milka has nothing but an abusive step-father and whatever she can find to eat. Together with their friends, Trifonov and Lopatin, they make the best of the situations they are in. They may fight and bicker but they have each other’s back.
There is a heavy influence going on with Chekhov and his The Cherry Orchard. Anya’s parents talk of the collapse of the government and how bad things are going to be and have been since WWII. There seems to be a great divide in this country. Those who have it all and those who don’t. Even after the fall, there is so much more food and luxuries, however, only a few can afford them.
When an unspeakable event turns their lives upside down their friendships fade. Anya will move to the US and marry a good man and not return for 20 years. And when she does, not much has changed, just the players.
This was a very good story. Fiction, but not. Russia is such a secretive place and we know very little firsthand about life there. And they have their perceptions of other countries as well. This beautiful book made me laugh, it made me cry and I would read it all over again. These women were strong and made something out of nothing. I was very impressed.
NetGalley/March 15th, 2022 by Ballantine Books