Here is a novel presenting a rare narrative within an Anglocentric literary landscape. Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry’s Between Dog And Wolf opens in mid-1980s Moscow, on the brink of the collapse of the USSR. Teenagers Anya, Milka, Petya and Aleksey navigate young adulthood like most teenagers: lives soundtracked by music, speculation about love and sex, and what their futures might look like. Yet the palpable uncertainty of the political situation of Russia in the years before perestroika complicates their dreams and what is possible for their hopes and ambitions.
Gorcheva-Newberry brings a strikingly original moment in contemporary history to light, not least due to her portrayal of the precarity of lives in a world that’s verging on the edge of collapse and the unknowing of what may follow, but because our protagonists refute the idea of following their parents’ footsteps, yearning for more opportunities and freedom than their decades of living through Soviet rule have permitted.
The author writes from experience after witnessing the end of Soviet Russia before moving to the United States in the 1990s. It’s a beautiful, intelligent perspective to depict, punctuated with a deeply personal characterisation of young life during the period – summer memories spent in dachas with best friends, knowing Queen lyrics by heart – that examines how the impatience of teenhood traverses through a world opening up to new pathways in a tale of survival, love, politics, and ambition.
Between Dog And Wolf, Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry (Indigo Press)
Price: £12.99. Info: here
words CHLOË EDWARDS