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Mother Country

A Novel

Irina Reyn


Mother Country Download image

ISBN10: 1250300894
ISBN13: 9781250300898

Trade Paperback

288 Pages



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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.


Praise for Mother Country

"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


Read an Excerpt


First-World Problems

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...

About the author

Irina Reyn

Irina Reyn is the author of What Happened to Anna K and The Imperial Wife. She is also the editor of the anthology Living on the Edge of the World: New Jersey Writers Take on the Garden State. She has reviewed books for the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, The Forward, and other publications. Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in One Story, Tin House, Ploughshares, Town & Country Travel and Poets & Writers. She teaches fiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Brooklyn, NY.

Karolin Obregon

Irina Reyn

Official Links

Read Author Interview at The Rumpus