Mother Country

Thomas Dunne: St. Martin's. Feb. 2019. 288p. ISBN 9781250076045. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466887374. F
OrangeReviewStarAfter waiting ten years to get a visa for herself and her daughter Larissa to emigrate from Ukraine to the United States, Nadia discovers, to her horror, that only her application has been accepted. At the American embassy, she makes a split-second decision: to seize the opportunity to start making a better life for them both. Twenty-year-old Larissa will stay behind until her application for asylum is granted. Seven years later, Nadia is still slogging away as a nanny in Brooklyn and a home health caregiver, barely mustering the energy to join her few middle-aged Russian friends for the occasional ladies' night at a local club. Her Skype calls and texts with Larissa are limited, and it's clear that Larissa is bitter, their relationship strained. As Nadia obsessively tracks Vladimir Putin's aggressions toward the Ukraine and frets about Larissa's diabetes and access to insulin, she crafts a desperate plan so they can be reunited. Flashbacks give insight to Nadia's personality and her rationale for her decisions. She's a sympathetic, supremely practical, and deeply caring mother.
VERDICT Reyn (What Happened to Anna K) has written a moving, contemporary look at the immigrant experience. Recommended.

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