I read The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew last year, the review of which you can read here, which was such a powerful and truly thought-provoking book. I was therefore awaiting her next book Mother Tongue with muuuch anticipation.
Set in a small Russian town, the story follows Darya as she navigates the path to her future, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack at the local school, which leaves many young lives lost, including her little sister. Darya has spent the last six years essentially raising her sister Nika, with their mother bedridden since the birth, and so the loss of her life and her presence in Darya's life is monumental. The community is shaken and in recovery when foreign aid workers and journalists arrive to cover 'the story'.
Darya's search for a way out of her hometown and the boring life that lies ahead of her, at first has you rooting for her to achieve her pencil-pot and secretary-friends dreams. But as she becomes more lost you begin to question her escape from grief and the importance of home. Darya is this stubborn, strong willed character, too big for her small town, but too naive for a big city like Moscow.
Where The Big Lie had you calling for revolution, Mother Tongue leaves you at lot more introspective, asking questions of how to define identity, home, and grief. Mayhew is a brilliant author, and I can't wait to see what comes next.
I received a copy of Mother Tongue from Hot Key Books in return for an honest review.