Nadia's daily life in south Brooklyn is filled with small indignities: as a senior home attendant, she is always in danger of being fired; as a part-time nanny, she is forced to navigate the demands of her spoiled charge and the preschooler's insecure mother; and as an ethnic Russian, she finds herself feuding with western Ukrainian immigrants who think she is a traitor.
The war back home is always at the forefront of her reality. On television, Vladimir Putin speaks of the "reunification" of Crimea and Russia, the Ukrainian president makes unconvincing promises about a united Ukraine, while American politicians are divided over the fear of immigration. Nadia internalizes notions of "union" all around her, but the one reunion she has been waiting six years for—with her beloved daughter—is being eternally delayed by the Department of Homeland Security. When Nadia finds out that her daughter has lost access to the medicine she needs to survive, she takes matters into her own hands.
Mother Country is Irina Reyn's most emotionally complex, urgent novel yet. It is a story of mothers and daughters and, above all else, resilience.
"Reyn deftly spins a web of heartache and memory around Nadia's daily life. A compassionate portrait of a mother aching with regrets yet brave enough to fight for her family."—Kirkus Reviews
"Reyn delivers an elegiac look at the rootlessness that accompanies immigration while also tenderly capturing long-distance mothering and the challenges that all parents face when letting go engenders a terrible sense of powerlessness."—Booklist
“Reyn has written a moving, contemporary look at the immigrant experience. Recommended.”—Library Journal (starred review)
"In Reyn’s excellent exploration of the immigrant experience . . . [she] probes the intimate ways cultures clash within individuals, forcing them to knit together disparate truths to make sense of the world, and provides a tender depiction of how mother-daughter bonds morph over time and space."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Reviews from Goodreads
Brooklyn, April 2014
In this Brooklyn neighborhood, Nadia was sure she was the only nanny from Ukraine. She preferred to think of herself as an observer, a temporary traveler, someone...