Soviet Milk by Nora Ikstena
This is a story of 3 women in Latvia: the grandmother, the mother, and the daughter. It’s a sad, and happy story. The grandmother lives through a harrowing time during the end of WW2. The grandparents fondly remember a time when Latvia was its own country with a flag and national anthem. The mother was on track to be a well-respected doctor but ran afoul of the ‘new rules’ of Soviet Latvia. She struggles to adapt to living in the ‘cage’. The daughter has to keep her mom’s will to live alive. The daughter was born in the cage, so she doesn’t even see the bars. Slowly, she starts to learn about freedom, and the old, free Latvia through her grandparents.
It was difficult for me to keep track of the women at times if I wasn’t reading too carefully. Everytime you see the * at the end of a section you have to make sure you mentally change the character in your head.
It was a beautiful book that certainly would reward a reader reading it a second time. The metaphor of a mother’s milk was used throughout the book. I liked the refence to the banned book fragment the mother gets ahold of with the character Winston in it. I wonder what book that could be? :D
Book #110 in my 2021 Reading Challenge