A Novel


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9781646221448 | Hardcover 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 | 240 pages Buy it Now

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Book Description

For fans of Maggie Nelson and Eileen Myles, the lyrical and deeply moving story of a young queer woman’s journey across Russia to inter her mother’s ashes and to understand her sexuality, femininity, and grief

From one of Russia’s most exciting new voices, Wound follows a young lesbian poet on a journey from Moscow to her hometown in Siberia, where she has promised to bury her mother’s ashes. Woven throughout this fascinating travel narrative are harrowing and at times sublime memories of her childhood and her sexual and artistic awakening. As she carefully documents her grief and interrogates her past, the narrator of Oksana Vasyakina’s autobiographical novel meditates on queerness, death, and love and finds new words for understanding her relationship with her mother, her country, her sexuality, and her identity as an artist.

A sensual, whip-smart account of the complicated dynamics of queer life in present-day Siberia and Moscow, Wound is also in conversation with feminist thinkers and artists, including Susan Sontag, Louise Bourgeois, and Monique Wittig, locating Vasyakina’s work in a rich and exciting international literary tradition.

About the Authors

Praise For This Book

"Oksana Vasyakina’s sensitive memoir about the death of her mother doubles as a ferociously intelligent portrait of a vast and brutal country, traumatized by traumatized men. Elina Alter does justice to Vasyakina’s style, whose clarity and unpretentiousness results in a work of great inner power." —Eugene Ostashevsky, author of The Feeling Sonnets

"In this moving, poetic autobiographical novel, family trauma is inseparable from national history. Returning to Siberia with her mother's ashes, a daughter revisits the primal scenes of four generations. In the process, she invents a new way of existing as a queer woman from the Russian provinces." —Sophie Pinkham, author of Black Square: Adventures in Post-Soviet Ukraine

"Deeply moving, Wound flows from a faith in the emancipatory power of literature that has become all too rare. One of the most refreshing young voices I've encountered in contemporary literature." —Jessi Jezewska Stevens, author of The Exhibition of Persephone Q and The Visitors

“Acutely necessary. Wound is a bold, human, powerful meditation on how a language of love and death takes shape.” —Polina Barskova, author of Living Pictures

"In Vasyakina's magnificent Wound, a woman goes on a pilgrimage to bury her mother's ashes in the small Siberian town of her birth, a place where lesbians 'didn't exist.' Urn under arm, the prodigal daughter returns: a queer in Putin's Russia, a poet who first glimpses herself whole—'soft and agape'—in the gaze of her girlfriend. The narration pivots through time in Elina Alter's resonant translation. 'Poetry is my method of forgetting in such a way that what I forget becomes known to others.' I remain awed by the expansive emotional geography of this book, which reads like a novel yet tastes like a poem." —Alina Stefanescu, author of Dor