Coming May 2024
Forever Blackbirds depicts the story of the women waited out World War II at home, who faced the daily threat of death and received the telegrams no wanted to receive. Told in dual timelines, the novel captures the immigrant experience in abbreviated segments from 1914 that portray a 14-year-old girl’s life with her once-prosperous Odessa, Russia, desperate to escape the Bolsheviks. Loosely based on the history of the author’s maternal grandmother, the narrative opens in 1943. Marta Gottlieb, a German Russian immigrant now in her mid-40s, lives with her family in Myra, North Dakota, a fictionalized evangelical community. During her departure from Ellis Island, Marta suffers disfiguring facial scars in a fall at Battery Park. Grateful to have anyone marry her, Marta settles into what becomes a loveless union that produces four children. Throughout the novel, Marta struggles with her role as a dutiful Christian wife while resisting the changes she witnesses in her two adult and very modern daughters. Death becomes the conveyor belt that delivers Marta into the modern era and causes her to question her religious beliefs and discover her own agency. Hints of Willa Cather and her famous novels that depicted the Plains states permeate the story.
Maryka Biaggio, Parlor Games & Eden Waits
Suzanne Parry, Lost Souls of Leningrad