What will happen to you in London if you rescue a parrot and your husband protests? What if your parents, having moved to England from Hong Kong, decide to open a take-away, with the only goal – to finance your career, even if you don’t want one? What if you forget to put your underwear away at a London gym? Or if you suddenly have a nightmare about the end of the world and start saving bees? And when everything is over, and you finally lie down on a disposable sheet, will the hair removal specialist convince you that you are doing great? Or will you continue, like Alice, chasing after the White Rabbit?
The book “London, mother***!”, illustrated by the popular St Petersburg artist Liza Benk, is about migrant women in the metropolis. In the last two chapters, their paths intersect. The heroines – Sylvia, Fei Fei, Agnieszka, Larisa, and Liliana (or Lilith) – “fight” with London every day. Sylvia tries to escape the “cage” of the relationship; Fei Fei wrestles with the ambitions of her immigrant parents who are also grieving for her dead brother; Agnieszka is haunted by nightmares about an environmental disaster; Larisa, after graduating from the Moscow University and moving to London, becomes a mother and experiences a culture shock from living in an unfamiliar country. Will the girls be able to survive without losing their identity? Sylvia solves this issue by sitting on the bridge next to her beloved parrot. Fei Fei sows discord among fellow teachers at an elite nursery school. Agnieszka refuses to compromise her principles for terry towels. Larisa experiences catharsis in the London pool. Lilith faces the final choice – life or divorce.
In her book, Darya Protopopova talks about modern London – first and second generation immigrants who came from Italy, Russia, Hong Kong, Poland, Romania – convincingly showing how the difficult experience of cultural integration allows you to find common ground with very different, at first glance, people. To achieve something and not to lose your own self – this is the task which is given to the heroines – complex, alert and remarkable inhabitants of the British capital (Elena Shakhnovskaya, writer and playwright)
The chapter “What the Parrot Saw”, translated into English, was shortlisted for the Writing Tips Prize for 2019. The second chapter “The Winner” appeared in one of the prestigious Russian journals “Yunost” (No. 7, 2020). Humour, detailed character sketches, and vivid situations make the novel similar to Sergei Dovlatov’s “A Foreign Woman”. This is the author’s third book: the first, Virginia Woolf’s Portraits of Russian Writers: Creating the Literary Other, came out in 2019. Her first novel, “1982, or To Survive until Spring”, was published by Ridero in early 2020.
- Year of publication 2021
- Language: Russian
- Number of pages: 150
- Dimensions: 14,8 x 21 cm, paperback, black&white illustration
- ISBN 978-5-0055-8638-4