Irkadura begins with a chilling opening that will destroy you if unprepared. Having read Ksenia Anske’s Rosehead several years ago, I was still impressed by the amount of immersion and experienced as I waded through this flood of a novel, showcasing Anske’s mastery of plot and pacing. Overtime, the story buoys the reader rather than drowning them, like a crocodile playing with it’s meal, with scenes that deftly unfold as we escape with Irina out of the one hell and into another. We read her thoughts and learn her tragedy, balancing our hope Irina isn’t going crazy with the fear of another failure once things look up for our traumatized anti-heroine. As new characters are introduced, we see the world of butterflies and ravens is more colorful with each inspection. Indeed, we may even dare hope for a happy ending, propelled by the inner strength that Irina, pregnant and only 16 years old, may yet uncover despite a life of abuse in a city on the edge of utter turmoil.
While difficult at first (the first few chapters were like a punch in the gut), I quickly came to love this book, the shape it took in my heart, and even the ending, which I’ll leave for readers to discover. The duality of human kindness and cruelty, of love and apathy, and the irony of in attention on even the happiest of days are intricately woven throughout this novel. Irina’s journey against backdrop of human apathy in the midst of hate is both startling and grounding in it’s place in history.
Irkadura is not just a story about the darkness in this world, but also the importance of finding your own freedom, in whatever form that may be. Perhaps the reason I favor this book so much is because of it’s truth, without limiting itself by what’s required of the genre, but being itself. Brace yourself; it’s worth the read.
Interested in this author? https://www.kseniaanske.com/