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Praise for The Rooster House

‘A paean to hope and home, written with such gentleness and deep adherence to emotional truth that to me its words become a fierceness to cast against harm, hardship and hurt. I loved it and it will haunt me for a long time.’ Helen Macdonald, the author of H is for Hawk

‘[An] intimate picture of life in rural Ukraine, the snapshots of its brutal history and, above all, the portrait of Valentina and her neighbours, whose planting schedules, “world crises notwithstanding”, make good sense, as if keeping their heads down and tending the land are a means of survival.’ Blake Morrison, The Guardian

‘For my non-fiction pick of 2023, however, I’m plumping for The Rooster House by Victoria Belim (Virago, £20). “Mourning a place is even more difficult than mourning a person,” Belim writes in a deeply affecting memoir of her Ukrainian family that absolutely knocked me head over heels with both its narrative, and luminous prose.’ Çharlie Connelly, The New European

‘When something of ours, something we took for granted as being ours, is destroyed before our eyes,‘writes the Ukrainian-born journalist Victoria Belim, early in her absorbing memoir, ‘we are destroyed along with it.’

In her new memoir, the Ukrainian-born journalist Victoria Belim returns to her homeland to find the missing pieces in the puzzle of her family’s history. . . Reading her book, it’s impossible to forget that however resilient the country may be, the pain currently inflicted will be felt for generations.’ Anya Yurchyshyn, The New York Times

‘Far from being just a single-minded personal quest, The Rooster House evokes a Ukraine beyond the rubble-strewn images we see on the television news. Belim writes beautifully of the nature around the Bereh house and how the villagers talk about events in Crimea between assessing the prospects of their tomato plants.

Growing food is something they can control or at least influence – one neighbour even commissions a “cucumber whisperer” to promote the success of her crop – and betrays the psychological legacy of the famine. The relentless cycle of sowing, planting, tending and harvesting is born of a sense that another famine could be just a drought away, the constant seasonal resetting also an indication of how the villagers prefer to look forward rather than back.’ Charlie Connelly, The New European

‘A Ukrainian American journalist recounts the history of her Ukrainian family within the broader context of Russian aggression since the 1930s.

‘[A] poignant, gently unfolding . . . elegant family narrative of myriad characters traumatized by the deep-seated Russia-Ukrainian struggle. . . Throughout this powerful text, readers will encounter numerous satisfying layers.’ Kirkus

‘The familiar village symbol of a rooster on the roof hides a dark secret in Victora Belim’s marvellously vivid and often heartbreaking account of a personal quest, one that leads us deep into the complexities that lie behind news headlines while introducing us to an unforgettable group of characters. I read it in a single enthralled sitting.’ Miranda Seymour, author of I Used to Live Here Once: The Haunted Life of Jean Rhys

‘A compelling, beautifully written and researched family memoir that weaves together the personal and the political and gives the reader an insight into the complexity of Ukraine’s history. Belim demonstrates that by drawing together the lost and confused threads of the past, you can find some peace in the present.’ Meriel Schindler, the author of The Lost Café Schindler

‘A haunting quest — beautifully told, with stunning momentum — travelling through place, history, and private memory on the fraying edge of Europe. I loved this book: the voice, the determination, the pace, the characters, the insights into exile and belonging, into remembering and forgetting. A book where the search for truth shines so brightly, The Rooster House feels like an instant classic: an essential book in these darkening times.’ Sophy Roberts, author of The Lost Pianos of Siberia

‘A Wild Swans for Ukraine is how I’ve come to think of The Rooster House: A Ukrainian Family Memoir by Victoria Belim. An enthralling richly-layered story told across four generations, it’s a major 2023 title for Virago, was one of the most talked-about books at London Book Fair 2022 and is set to be published in 16 languages. It powerfully illuminates the context of the current conflict in Ukraine but goes beyond it too in reflecting on culture and art, geography and language and how they influence the complexities of who we are.’ Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller

‘I think that everyone should read this book, if only to see what irreplaceable values and what earthly beauty is right now, at this writing, being obliterated by the ravages of war. Victoria Belim had no idea that she would become the memory bearer of her generation when she started writing.’ Gabriella Håkansson, Sydsvenskan

Belim skillfully transports the reader through the entire 20th century history of Ukraine. Belim’s Ukrainian family story becomes more personal all the time, moves closer to modern times and the author herself. Suvi Ahola, Helsingin Sanomat.

A highly topical Ukrainian family history. Die Zeit

An account of the history of her country through the microcosm of her family, with its mysteries and aromas. Maria R. Sahuquillo, El Pais

An introduction to why the Ukrainians defend themselves so fiercely. Jørgen Herman Monrad, Weekendavisen

A subtle and beautiful novel, brimming with nuances, which is read with the voracity of a thriller.
Rosa Martí, The Confidential

Belim tells all these events with great elegance and a dose of intimacy. Adolfo Torrecilla, Aceprensa

A captivating Ukrainian family saga. Jytte Kjær Schou, Historie Online

Victoria Belim narrates engrossingly about her country’s history in sensuous language. Anne Skov Thomsen, Kristeligt Dagblad

Victoria Belim writes up close and personal about returning home to the Ukrainian countryside… Despite the horrific acts that seem to have no end, the corruption, the falsifications of history and the impenetrable Soviet bureaucracy, this is a beautiful narrative. Life in the countryside is depicted with great love … Red Sirens is a well-written and deeply moving book. Guri Sørnes, Dag og Tig

Some memories are loaded with blood, earth and beauty. A book that grows before the reader like an angry flower.
Karina Sainz Borgo, ABC

My memoir, The Rooster House, will be published in English in 2023 by Virago (UK) and Abrams Press (USA). The book tells my family history across four generations as I search for traces of my great-uncle who disappeared during the 1930s, and explore Ukraine’s complex relationship with its Soviet past. It’s also a story about family ties that survive conflicts and turmoil. Here is a publisher’s summary. You can pre-order on Amazon or

The Rooster House has been translated into sixteen languages, and the Spanish version titled Mi Ucrania will be published by Lumén on October 23rd, 2022. The Catalan, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, and Dutch versions are likewise going to be published this fall. They will be followed by Finnish, Italian, German, Polish, Korean, Chinese, and Portuguese editions in 2023. In translation, the book is titled Red Sirens.

Spanish edition: Mi Ucrania

Read an excerpt of Mi Ucrania in Spanish.

Catalan edition: La Meva Ucraïna

Norwegian edition: Røde Sirener

Swedish edition: Röda Sirener

Danish edition: De Røde Sirener

Dutch edition: Rode Sirenes

Read an excerpt of Rode Sirenes in Dutch.

Finnish edition: Punaiset Seireenit

German edition: Rote Sirenen

Portuguese edition: A Casa Dos Galos

Polish edition: Dom Pod Kogutami

Chinese edition (Taiwan): 公雞之家

Italian edition

Estonian edition

Hungarian edition

Korean edition

Japanese edition

Brazilian edition

Meanwhile, I will be traveling to promote the book and meet the readers. Hope to see some of you during these trips.

March 26, 2023

Passa Porta Festival, Brussels, Belgium

April 26, 2023

Berlin reading

April 27-30, 2023

Leipzig Book Fair  

June 2, 2023

Hay Literary Festival Wales 2023

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