the rooster house: 17 posts

Meet Me in Taipei

A special announcement for my readers in Taipei. I will be participating in a discussion about Ukraine on Tuesday July 23rd. You can find the information below as well as via this link. Please stop by and say hello.

When the Russian-Ukrainian war broke out in 2022, the Taiwanese media constantly compared Russia to China and Taiwan to Ukraine, reflecting the fear of the war in Taiwan.



In 2023, Faces published Victoria Belim’s family history “The Rooster House”, which was written by the author who grew up in Ukraine and moved to Chicago, USA at the age of 15. In this book, the author uses an autobiographical style, starting with the disputes among family members regarding different historical views and political positions on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The author returns to Ukraine and, from the clues of his time with his grandmother, in the secret police unit “Rooster House”, archives and museums around the world, she pieced together the past of a family that was silenced during the socialist era in Ukraine, allowing the author to understand the authoritarian legacy that is still affecting the present from a more historical and profound perspective.

In addition to viewing this war as a projection of Taiwan’s anxiety about being invaded, two years after the war began, can we have a deeper understanding of the impact and changes in the meaning of this war on Europe, on Ukraine, and on Victoria Bellim and her family? We invited Chi-Xin Liu, the author of “The Making of Truth” – who used to work with a team of reporters to record the “invisible” people and events in the Ukrainian war through first-hand interviews, and wrote “Ukraine’s Impossible War.” Through the conversation, we will explore everything that Ukraine is facing at the moment, how Taiwan can learn from it, and when totalitarian forces infiltrate the people, is there a possibility of reconnection after division.

Lecture information To Register

Date|7/23 (Tuesday) 19:30 – 21:00
Dialogue|Victoria Belim (author of “The Rooster House”), Chi-Xin Liu (author of “The Making of Truth”, host of the podcast “Excuse Me”)

Location|Xianliulu Store (1F, No.26, Lane 25, Sec.3, Chongqing N Rd, Taipei; 3 minutes walk from Exit 3 of MRT Daqiaotou Station)

Date: 2024.7.23 19:30 – 21:00

Ticket|NT$150 (Line Pay, Cultural Coin)

Registration by appointment + on-site payment, the venue is limited to 35 people, and registration will be closed when the quota is full.

Taiwan Recommendations

My book The Rooster House is available in Chinese (traditional characters), titled 公雞之家 and published by Faces. I will be in Taiwan in July for a few events, including a seminar about Ukraine. I will share more details soon. In the meantime, I wanted to ask my friends and readers about your Taiwan recommendations. I’ve been to Taipei and Hsinchu twice, but this time I will also take a week to explore more of the country. Any food recommendations are more than welcome too.

On this note, if you have any recommendations for books about Taiwan or by Taiwanese writers, I would be most grateful.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

The Rooster House : Best Books of 2023 Lists

I’m immensely grateful to all of you for your support and kind words about my book The Rooster House. I’ve received many warm letters and emails from my readers around the world. As the book appeared in different languages (17 so far), I traveled and met many of you in person. This year has been heartbreaking in so many respects and there are many days when my faith in humanity falters, but whenever I read your comments and notes, I feel an instant boost. The sense of community that I feel with my readers is a precious gift.

Another wonderful honor is that The Rooster House was selected among Best Books of 2023 by Kirkus Reviews, Express, Waterstones. This recognition is important to me personally and a Ukrainian-American author. Ukraine is the place where I was born. It shaped me as an individual and it continues to inspire me. While its situation remains tragic, I will continue to live with pain and anxiety, but I also know from the experience I recount in my book that we must look for sources of resilience within us.

My 2024 projects continue to revolve around Ukraine, participating in various fundraising and community projects, but I’m also devoting more time to scents and olfaction. Since fall 2023, I have been teaching at ISIPCA. I have also resumed my online perfume classes and seminars. It feels wonderful to immerse myself into the world of aromas, the universe that I still find as captivating as I did almost two decades ago when I first started Bois de Jasmin.

Finally, I’m grateful to the reviewers and literary critics for their praise for The Rooster House. Some of their words are below.

  • Charlie Connelly, The New European 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.
  • Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk The Rooster House is so many things at once, and all of them pull at my heart. The book is a seriously beautiful evocation of an imperilled nation and an account of a personal quest to retrieve the memories and secrets that families and states maintain. It’s a careful meditation on exile, on return and belonging, and what it means to be. And most of all it’s 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.
  • Bookseller, Caroline Sanderson A Wild Swans for Ukraine … an enthralling, multilayered family story, told across four generations. Rich and magnificent. A marvel
  • Times Literary Supplement Ethereal and transporting … Ukraine comes alive through a tapestry of multisensory descriptions. Barbed by pain, this is a book as poignant as it is timely … it reflects the indestructible strength of the Ukrainian people, who so fiercely hold on to hope
  • New European A beautifully written evocation of the Ukrainian people through the prism of four generations of one family, but it is also a celebration of Ukrainian women… evokes a Ukraine beyond the rubble-strewn images we see on the television news… a truly redemptive book, strangely joyful even, one that makes the tragedy of the Russian invasion personal

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Estonia and Denmark Visits : Tallinn and Copenhagen Book Events

I’m delighted to share that my book The Rooster House was selected among “The Best Books of 2023” by Waterstones. I’m grateful for this recognition and I thank all of my readers for your support.

As I mentioned in my previous newsletter, I will be in Estonia and Denmark to speak about The Rooster House. It’s been such a pleasure to meet my readers on these travels, especially those who have been following Bois de Jasmin for years. Your support throughout my journey has been invaluable.

On this note, many thanks to everyone who gave me recommendations for Munich and Leipzig. I had very little free time in Munich, but your suggestions helped me plan efficiently and I managed to get a sense of the city, visit a couple of churches and Alte Pinakothek, which is one of the most impressive museums I’ve seen.

There have been many book news recently, but next week I will have another exciting announcement, so please stay tuned.

Tallinn, Estonia

30.10.23 17.00
Tallinna Viru Keskuse Rahva Raamat

Presentation of Victoria Belim’s book “The Rooster House”.
We are waiting for you on Monday, October 30 at 17:00 at the presentation of Victoria Belim’s book The Rooster House in Viru Keskus Rahva Raamata!

I will be in conversation with Annikky Lamp, the translator of my book and the author of a wonderful blog Life in a Cold Climate. Anniky wrote a thoughtful article about translating The Rooster House and her decision to take on this project: The Rooster House: A Deeply Personal Love Letter to Ukraine.

“The moving memoir tells the story of one family and the whole of Ukraine from the complicated history to the dangerous present. It tells a fascinating story of parents and children, loyal Bolsheviks and victims of communism, gardens and art, mysteries and long-kept secrets.”

You can find more details via https://www.facebook.com/events/773516434464677 and https://rahvaraamat.ee/event/206/et

Copenhagen, Denmark

I will participate in Bogforum in November. Bogforum is one of the largest book fairs in the region and an important event in Denmark. I will be on stage on Saturday, November 4th at 15.20-16.05.

More details via https://program.bogforum.dk/aktivitet/ukraine-i-fokus-victoria-belim/

Berlin, Munich and Leipzig Recommendations

I already shared that I will be visiting Germany to speak about Ukraine and my book The Rooster House. I also would like to ask you for your recommendations on what to visit and see in Berlin, Munich and Leipzig. I’ve been to Berlin and Leipzig before, but this will be my first trip to Munich.

Below is my program for these three cities. After I return from Germany, I will be going to Tallinn and Copenhagen for the book events. I will share more details closer to the date.

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