I Will Die in a Foreign Land
a novel by
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This book will be released in October 2021:
You can pre-order a SIGNED copy from AZ indie bookstore Changing Hands here!
Event: Book Launch at Changing Hands Bookstore (Phoenix, AZ) for I Will Die in a Foreign Land
Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 7pm MST
Event ticket link: please reserve your spot for this event here!
Event: City Lights presents Kalani Pickhart and Maria Kuznetsova
Monday, November 22, 2021, 6pm PT / 9pm EDT, virtual.
Event link: https://citylights.com/events/
Join us for a very special virtual event with Kalani Pickhart, debut author of I Will Die in a Foreign Land, with Maria Kuznetsova, author of Oksana, Behave! and Something Unbelievable.
Author photo by Sydney Cisco.
* American Booksellers Association "Indie Next List" pick for November 2021.
In 1913, Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring premiered at the new Théâtre de Champs-Elysées in Paris. The work so perplexed audiences that a riot broke out. “Only a Russian could do that,” says Aleksandr Ivanovich. “Only a Russian could make the whole world go mad.”
A century later, in November 2013, thousands of Ukrainian citizens gathered at Independence Square in Kyiv to protest then-President Yanukovych’s failure to sign a referendum with the European Union, opting instead to forge a closer alliance with President Vladimir Putin and Russia. The peaceful protests turned violent when military police shot live ammunition into the crowd, killing over a hundred civilians.
I Will Die in a Foreign Land follows four individuals over the course of a volatile Ukrainian winter, as their lives are forever changed by the Euromaidan protests. Katya is a Ukrainian-American doctor stationed at a makeshift medical clinic in St. Michael’s Monastery; Misha is an engineer originally from Pripyat, who has lived in Kyiv since his wife’s death; Slava is a fiery young activist whose past hardships steel her determination in the face of persecution; and Aleksandr Ivanovich, a former KGB agent, climbs atop a burned-out police bus at Independence Square and plays the piano.
As Katya, Misha, Slava, and Aleksandr’s lives become intertwined, they each seek their own solace during an especially tumultuous and violent period. The story is also told by a chorus of voices that incorporates folklore and narrates a turbulent Slavic history.
While unfolding an especially moving story of quiet beauty and love in a time of terror, I Will Die in a Foreign Land is an ambitious, intimate, and haunting portrait of human perseverance and empathy.
Scroll to bottom for Goodreads reviews.
I Will Die in a Foreign Land is an ABA Indie Next List pick for November 2021!
“Camera-eye perspective of the Ukraine Euromaidan protests — if John Dos Passos and John Reed joined Pussy Riot — rich, variegated characters, tense plot. A must read for anyone inclined toward world literature.”
—ABA Indie Next List: Conor Hultman, Square Books (Oxford, MS)
"A debut that is as thoughtful as it is explosive."
—Wendy J. Fox, BuzzFeed (Read the full review of I Will Die in a Foreign Land on BuzzFeed)
"Set in Ukraine during a pivotal winter, Pickhart follows four individuals during the Euromaidan protests. The four cannot be more different, but they are united by the same desires to survive and make something of themselves. While expansive, this is an intimate portrait of the human condition, proving that even in the darkness, there is hope."
—Adam Vitcavage, Debutiful, "Six Debut Books You Should Read This October"
"The sort of ambitious debut novel that makes you sit up and take notice, Kalani Pickhart’s sprawling and rambunctious portrait of the 2013 Ukrainian protests that led to the killing of over a hundred civilians announces an exciting new voice in fiction. Unfolding with the assurance and daring of a much more seasoned writer, I Will Die in a Foreign Land will appeal to readers of history and tragedy alike."
—The Chicago Review of Books, "12 Must-Read Books of October"
"In Pickhart’s debut, which is set during the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution, four people's lives overlap, intersect, and irrevocably change in the face of personal, political, and historical turmoil."
—Carolyn Quimby, The Millions, "The Millions Most Anticipated (October)"
"In Pickhart’s ardent, sprawling debut, a set of memorable characters attempt to lay bare the truths of recent conflicts in [Ukraine]... This bighearted novel generously portrays the unforgettable set of characters through their determination to face oppression. It’s a stunner."
—Publishers Weekly, Starred review (read the full Publishers Weekly review here)
"The lives of four people intersect during the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution... Innovative, emotionally resonant, and deeply affecting, this is a more-than-promising debut from a very talented writer."
—Kirkus, Starred review (read the full Kirkus review here)
"In this sweeping debut novel, readers are transported inside the 2013–14 Ukrainian battle to maintain independence under pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.... an unforgettable reading experience and a critical lesson in ongoing global history."
—Courtney Eathorne, Booklist
"The historical novel I Will Die in a Foreign Land is a love letter to Ukraine, its people, and its ability to rise up from piled catastrophes."
—Eileen Gonzalez, Foreword
"Love triangles, grieving parents, sex trafficking, the KGB, Chernobyl, the Euromaidan protests—I Will Die in a Foreign Land has it all. This bold, intricate novel is as rich and complex as the Ukrainian history it describes with such precision and longing. In spite of their unspeakable personal and political tragedies, the people in this book will fill you with hope for a better world long after you turn the last page."
—Maria Kuznetsova, author of Oksana, Behave! and Something Unbelievable
“I Will Die in a Foreign Land is an antidote to safe or insular fiction. Kalani Pickhart casts her gaze both outward and inward, to decades of fractious history and the ways loss marks the human heart. How does a person, or a nation, endure and transform? The novel asks big questions and offers up answers written with an unerring sense of character and astonishingly beautiful language.”
—Caitlin Horrocks, author of Life Among the Terranauts, This Is Not Your City, and The Vexations
"Kalani Pickhart’s I Will Die in a Foreign Land hums with the intensity of a live wire. Told in intertwining strands of folklore, history, audio recordings, story, and song, the novel offers a complicated and often brutal portrait of Ukraine’s recent past. An innovative and electric debut: Pickhart writes with vividness, empathy, and unforgettable insight."
—Allegra Hyde, author of Eleutheria and Of This New World
"I Will Die in a Foreign Land beautifully illustrates the palimpsest of history, both on the global scale, as old wars give way to new, and the personal, as old loves give way to new. This novel perfectly captures the tragedy and romance of those willing to die for their beliefs."
—Ayşe Papatya Bucak, author of The Trojan War Museum
"Beseeching and beautiful, I Will Die in a Foreign Land is an ode to the inescapable difficulty of being both an individual and a citizen of the world. Rich with grief, folklore, and political will, Kalani Pickhart has written a novel of such intricacy that each moment expands and contracts to encompass more than time itself allows. It moved me deeply."
—Adrienne Celt, author of Invitation to a Bonfire, The Daughters, and the forthcoming End of the World House
"Kalani Pickhart's I Will Die in a Foreign Land is of the best kind of protest novels: one that makes you cry, and then makes you mad as hell. It is so far the best artistic treatment of the Euromaidan and Crimean situation, at turns tense, melancholy, and over-abundantly compassionate. This book is both the napalm and the bandages in one."
—Conor Hultman, Square Books (Oxford, MS)
"Kyiv, Ukraine, 2013. Katya, Misha, Slava, and Alexsandr Ivanovich all orbit around a makeshift medical clinic at the center of violent protests in debut author Kalani Pickhart's I Will Die in a Foreign Land. This book illuminated much about the period for me, and it did so because I was so thoroughly invested in its compelling characters. How Pickhart manages to construct such a solid and compelling story amid the chaos of the events portrayed (and even incorporates Slavic history and folklore) is unfathomable to me, but she does. You will care about these characters, you will agonize with them over the choices they are forced to make, and you will put this book down, haunted and grieving, but also inspired."
—Lisa Swayze, Buffalo Street Books (Ithaca, NY)
"In a powerful rendition of Ukraine’s troubled past and recent events Kalani Pickhart draws readers into the lives of characters who converge around the 2013 violent repression of demonstrations in Kyiv... With a fresh, bold narrative style that joins reportage and deep character study, Pickhart delivers a series of provocative set pieces that underscore the weight of historical memory and the toll of Russian domination. An eye-opening novel by a stunningly talented writer."
—Lori Feathers, Interabang Books (Dallas, TX)
"I must admit, I was a bit intimidated by Kalani Pickhart's debut novel, I Will Die in a Foreign Land. I've not read a lot of books about Ukraine, their recent political struggle, and the people who have fought for their home—plus, I just thought it might be devastatingly sad. And of course, it is sad, but more than that, it's absolutely beautiful and clings to hope so desperately that I was left feeling optimism for the characters that people the novel and for Ukraine itself. Pickhart weaves together the history of Ukraine with the stories of four citizens who have come to the Maidan to fight for the country they love. They move in and out of each other's stories in such a lovely way; Pickhart's writing is quiet, understated, and unexpected. I can't wait to read more from her."
—Margaret Leonard, Dotters Books (Eau Claire, WI)
Kalani Pickhart holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. She is the recipient of research fellowships from the Virginia G. Piper Center and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Intelligence for Eastern European and Eurasian Studies. I Will Die in a Foreign Land is her first novel.
Enjoy a sneak peek of select pages from I Will Die in a Foreign Land!
View I Will Die in a Foreign Land sneak peek on Issuu.com
FORMAT: Hardcover (paper over board)
LIST PRICE: $25 USD
PRINT ISBN: 9781953387080
DIGITAL ISBN: 9781953387097
AUDIOBOOK: available from Tantor Media (Dec 21, 2021)
RELEASE DATE: 10/19/2021
SIZE: 5.5" x 7.5"
Printed in Canada by Marquis, with the following environmental statement:
*Printed on Rolland Enviro. This paper contains 100% post-consumer fiber, is manufactured using renewable energy - Biogas and processed chlorine free.
*FSC certified paper (inside and cover).