Vita Nostra

Vita Nostra The definitive English language translation of the internationally bestselling Ukrainian novel a brilliant dark fantasy with the potential to be a modern classic Lev Grossman combining psychological

  • Title: Vita Nostra
  • Author: Marina Dyachenko
  • ISBN: Vita Nostra
  • ISBN
  • Page: 113
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The definitive English language translation of the internationally bestselling Ukrainian novel a brilliant dark fantasy with the potential to be a modern classic Lev Grossman , combining psychological suspense, enchantment, and terror that makes us consider human existence in a fresh and provocative way.Our life is brief.While vacationing at the beach with her moth The definitive English language translation of the internationally bestselling Ukrainian novel a brilliant dark fantasy with the potential to be a modern classic Lev Grossman , combining psychological suspense, enchantment, and terror that makes us consider human existence in a fresh and provocative way.Our life is brief.While vacationing at the beach with her mother, Sasha Samokhina meets the mysterious Farit Kozhennikov under the most peculiar circumstances The teenage girl is powerless to refuse when this strange and unusual man with an air of the sinister directs her to perform a task with potentially scandalous consequences He rewards her effort with a strange golden coin.As the days progress, Sasha carries out other acts for which she receives coins from Kozhennikov As summer ends, her domineering mentor directs her to move to a remote village and use her gold to enter the Institute of Special Technologies Though she does not want to go to this unknown town or school, she also feels it s the only place she should be Against her mother s wishes, Sasha leaves behind all that is familiar and begins her education.As she quickly discovers, the institute s special technologies are unlike anything she has ever encountered The books are impossible to read, the lessons obscure to the point of maddening, and the work refuses memorization Using terror and coercion to keep the students in line, the school does not punish them for their transgressions and failures instead, their families pay a terrible price Yet despite her fear, Sasha undergoes changes that defy the dictates of matter and time experiences which are nothing she has ever dreamed of and suddenly all she could ever want.A complex blend of adventure, magic, science, and philosophy that probes the mysteries of existence, filtered through a distinct Russian sensibility, this astonishing work of speculative fiction brilliantly translated by Julia Meitov Hersey is reminiscent of modern classics such as Lev Grossman s The Magicians, Max Barry s Lexicon, and Katherine Arden s The Bear and the Nightingale, but will transport them to a place far beyond those fantastical worlds Get A Copy Kindle Store StoresAudibleBarnes NobleWalmart eBooksApple BooksGoogle PlayAbebooksBook DepositoryIndigoAlibrisBetter World BooksIndieBoundLibraries Or buy for Hardcover, 416 pages Published November 1st 2018 by Harper Voyager first published 2007 More Details Original Title Vita Nostra ISBN 0062694596 ISBN13 9780062694591 Series 1 Literary Awards for 2008 Other Editions 22 All Editions Add a New Edition Combine Less Detail edit details Friend Reviews To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up Reader QA To ask other readers questions about Vita Nostra, please sign up Popular Answered Questions What happened at the end like 3 years ago See all 3 answers Loring Wirbel This answer contains spoilers view spoiler In re to Joelgeez, this is supposed to be a trilogy, Metamorphosis, don t know if parts 2 and 3 have been published in Russian yet As to what KK In re to Joelgeez, this is supposed to be a trilogy, Metamorphosis, don t know if parts 2 and 3 have been published in Russian yet As to what KK asked, I interpreted it as you only pass by utterly failing, thus she moves on to her studies under Dima Dimych But that s just my take less hide spoiler flag When can we expect the rest of the book in this series How is it that were getting these books, in English, now 4 likeslike 54 days ago See all 2 answers Anton Mitleider Trilogy does not refer to either the story, the world or even then genre, rather, it s a philosophical triptych If you like the phantastical genre Trilogy does not refer to either the story, the world or even then genre, rather, it s a philosophical triptych If you like the phantastical genre in general, this shouldn t be too much of a problem, though By the way, the third book was my favorite less flag See all 4 questions about Vita Nostra Lists with This Book This book is not yet featured on Listopia Add this book to your favorite list Community Reviews Showing 1 30 Rating details Sort Default Filter Dec 01, 2018 Rachel rated it it was amazing Shelves covers i love, fantasy sci fi, in translation, from publisher, 2018 At the start of this novel, 16 year old Sasha Samokhina is on a seaside vacation with her mother, where after a few days she finds herself stalked by a mysterious man with pale skin and dark glasses She is eventually confronted by this stranger, who entreats Sasha to wake up at 4 am every morning, go to the beach, take off all her clothes, and swim to a buoy and back She reluctantly agrees to this strange task, and as soon as she s back on shore that first morning, she starts to vomit gold coi At the start of this novel, 16 year old Sasha Samokhina is on a seaside vacation with her mother, where after a few days she finds herself stalked by a mysterious man with pale skin and dark glasses She is eventually confronted by this stranger, who entreats Sasha to wake up at 4 am every morning, go to the beach, take off all her clothes, and swim to a buoy and back She reluctantly agrees to this strange task, and as soon as she s back on shore that first morning, she starts to vomit gold coins.Thus begins the wildly unconventional journey that the Dyachenkos take the reader on in Vita Nostra, which has safely earned its distinction as the most unorthodox book I have ever read This doesn t follow any kind of narrative formula that will be familiar to many western readers it s bizarrely lacking in conflict, resolution, plot twists, and structure But it s also the most singular and enchanting and darkly horrifying book I have ever read.Honestly, the marketing team has my sympathy for this one, because I don t think I ve ever read another book that so staunchly defies categorization There are recognizable elements from traditional coming of age novels, but it isn t a bildungsroman there are hints and whispers of magic but it isn t really fantasy there are some classic Magical School tropes but it isn t remotely comparable to Harry Potter and it s filled to the brim with philosophical references but its maddeningly esoteric approach is strangely alienating even to readers who are interested in its central themes A large part of this book is just stumbling blindly alongside Sasha and waiting for everything to be made clear, which it never really is It s proving to be quite the challenge to explain what the appeal exactly is of a book like this, and I fully accept that this isn t going to be for everyone This isn t really for readers who need to be entertained by plot or readers who need to be invested in complex character dynamics This is for the readers drawn equally to a compelling atmosphere and big ideas readers who are both thrilled and terrified at the idea that their own worldview is limited than they ever could have imagined This book mesmerized me from the very first page and proved to be the most unexpected reading experience I ve ever had At times it s frustrating and incomprehensible but never for a single moment does it fail to stimulate This is one of the most exceptional things I have read in a very long time, and one of those books that will absolutely reward the effort you put into it Thanks so much to Harper Voyager for the copy provided in exchange for an honest review. flag 80 likesLike see review View all 24 comments Dec 03, 2018 Hannah rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves arc, fantasy, loved it Sometimes a book is so custom made for me that I am unsure whether I can reasonably recommend it to anyone or if the reading experience was incredible just because the book hit all my favourite things This is one of those times Combining some of my greatest loves in fiction dark fantasy, inspired by Russian literature, set in the middle of nowhere with plenty of snow, combining boarding school tropes with unconventional storytelling, this book was everything to me.This book follows Sasha, who Sometimes a book is so custom made for me that I am unsure whether I can reasonably recommend it to anyone or if the reading experience was incredible just because the book hit all my favourite things This is one of those times Combining some of my greatest loves in fiction dark fantasy, inspired by Russian literature, set in the middle of nowhere with plenty of snow, combining boarding school tropes with unconventional storytelling, this book was everything to me.This book follows Sasha, whose life is changed forever when she is approached by an otherworldly man who tells her she is stuck in a time loop and the only way to change this is to get up at four in the morning never missing a day and nakedly swimming in the ocean She does so every day, vomiting up weird gold coins afterwards Returning home and to what she thinks will be normalcy, she is approached again, having to follow new sets of rules, always throwing up gold coins afterwards She does not feel she has a choice when the man tells her she will be attending a rural university instead of the one she had planned for all her life.This book is a wild ride, and for the vast majority of its duration it stays opaque and the reader is left in the dark just as much as Sasha is I did not mind this one bit and I loved this introspective, weird book a whole lot There is a menacing undercurrent here that is made even spell binding as we closely follow Sasha and her fears without ever really being in her head at all I found the use of third person narration worked really well here and made the book all that compulsive for me.While Sasha is definitely the heart of this book and I adored her prickliness and her focus and her love for her family, I have to admit my favourite characters were the two main teachers and her mentor, the latter one being so very fascinating and awful and just everything I wanted him to be.I do want everybody to read this, for one thing because it is brilliant and one of the highlights of my reading but also for another, totally selfish reason, I want it to be successful enough that the second book gets translated as soon as possible I want to spend time in this world and with this characters and I have very many theories where this might go next.I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and HarperVoyager in exchange for an honest review.You can find this review and other thoughts on books on my blog flag 56 likesLike see review View all 7 comments May 31, 2013 David rated it it was amazing review of another edition Recommends it for Verbs in the imperative mood, Russian speaking Potter fans, Tolstoy loving fantasy fans Shelves ebook, fantasy, russian literature, female protagonist, teenagers, contemporary, fantasy contemporary, coming of age, horror, fantasy dark This is a most unusual novel, especially for Western readers It s strange and thoughtful and dark, full of psychological twists and turns, metaphysical tangents, and the desperately humorous shenanigans of young adults carrying on at a grim Russian boarding school that is turning them all into what, they do not exactly know.I described Marina and Sergey Dyachenko s novel The Scar as swords sorcery if written by Fyodor Dostoevsky I don t think I m stretching the Russian lit analogy t This is a most unusual novel, especially for Western readers It s strange and thoughtful and dark, full of psychological twists and turns, metaphysical tangents, and the desperately humorous shenanigans of young adults carrying on at a grim Russian boarding school that is turning them all into what, they do not exactly know.I described Marina and Sergey Dyachenko s novel The Scar as swords sorcery if written by Fyodor Dostoevsky I don t think I m stretching the Russian lit analogy too much to call this book Harry Potter if written by Leo Tolstoy I liked The Scar so much that I sought out other works by the Dyachenkos translated into English Sadly, there are was only one Vita Nostra, the first book in their Metamorphosis cycle And it s only available on as an ebook According to the afterword, it was translated by a Russian born fan living in the U.S which explains why the translation didn t read with the same professional smoothness as the Tor published The Scar The Scar, with its themes of morality and consequences, punishment and redemption, reminded me of Dostoevsky Vita Nostra is an even darker story, with occasional flashes of humor surfacing in the dark waters of a story that seems to be dragging you along toward some unknown, unknowable fate, with characters who have few choices, who know they exist only to act out their predefined roles They resist this predestination, even knowing that resistance is futile This valiant effort to find hope in the face of crushing inevitability reminded me of that grim old sourpuss Graf Tolstoy.Alexandra Sasha Samokhina is a 17 year old straight A student, preparing to apply to university She s been a good girl, a dutiful daughter to her single mother Then one day a stranger appears while she and her mother are on vacation at the beach, and makes an unusual demand of her He demands she swim naked out to a bouy every morning at exactly 4 a.m.Following some instinct, Sasha complies and each morning after her swim, she vomits up gold coins She soon learns that the world is indeed fragile, and that refusing Farit Kozhennikov s demands has a heavy price.Farit s unusual tasks continue when Sasha and her mother go home Sasha finds herself alienated from her friends, and distanced from her mother, who does not understand what strange pressures her daughter is under It only gets worse when Sasha informs her mother that instead of the university they both planned on, she has to attend the Institute of Special Technologies, a technical school no one has ever heard of in a small town that s practically off the map.Aren t you tired of books being called Harry Potter for adults But I m sorry, it s such an easy comparison to make, and Vita Nostra may deserve that label, albeit it s set in an adult unworldly boarding school in a very Russian vein Sasha has to ride a train to the middle of nowhere to arrive at Torpa, where the Institute of Special Technologies is located, but the Institute is no Hogwarts The teachers are sometimes warm and friendly, sometimes cold and demanding, but they all force students to study things they don t even understand, pursuing a degree they can t comprehend, to do things after graduation that they can t even imagine.The oppressive lack of information and the constant undercurrent of foreboding, the threat of sinister consequences for failure, makes the reader as frustrated as Sasha for much of the book What is the Institute for Special Technologies Are they teaching magic Are students learning to alter the fabric of reality Are they being transformed into something inhuman It s not really explained at all until near the end, and even then it s very abstract and metaphysical Sasha undergoes transformations, exhibits frightening powers, and moves from a frightened, confused First Year to a confused, increasingly alienated Third Year, one with a talent that exceeds that of all her classmates, though her own teachers won t even tell her what her talent is and why she s so special.All of this takes place in a fictional Russian town with a heavy flavor of magical realism There is a Sacco and Vanzetti Avenue The townspeople seem to tolerate without really accepting or understanding the Institute s students Sasha initially shares a dorm room with other students, and as she s struggling with her bizarre, incomprehensible subjects, she s engaged in petty roommate conflicts, college students getting illicitly drunk, and eventually relationship drama The townspeople seem vaguely aware that Institute students are not normal, but dismiss them as strange, not entirely welcome visitors to their town.In a very real sense real than most so called Young Adult novels Vita Nostra is a novel for young adults It s about becoming an adult, and discovering truly hard tasks where failure actually has consequences, and doing so amidst the swirling temptations of song, dance, parties, alcohol and sex It s about the confusion of not knowing what you re going to be when you grow up, of seeing yourself as a free willed individual with choices lying ahead of you and then discovering that you are at the mercy of forces you cannot control or negotiate with It s about trying not to lose the parent child bond even when you are forced to let go You ve just seen me Portnov sounded surprised You manifest entities, read highly complex informational structures, and you ve only just seen me Sasha managed a shallow nod, and then shut her eyes, trying to drive the tears back into her eyes What s the matter now Portnov sounded worried Sasha You are not human, Sasha whispered So Neither are you But I had been human I had been a child I remember that I remember being loved Does it matter to you I remember it This is not a traditional fantasy novel It defies Western genre labels It s as much horror as fantasy, as much contemporary realism as it is magical realism It s rather hard to describe and it was sometimes frustrating to read and there are depths that I sensed lurking beneath this translation that might be evident to its Russian audience If you like dark fantasy, I think you will like it If you like Russian literature and don t mind a fantastic element , you will definitely like it But it s a very strange book, and it doesn t follow a standard Western fantasy arc Things are described in vague, esoteric terms and the relevance and meaning is never always made clear to the reader, which forces you to swim in the same existential confusion afflicted upon the characters.Please, folks, go buy this ebook It s only 2.99 Yeah, I know, it s Someone should tell them how to sell ebooks on other sites But I want you to read it and I want people to buy it because I want of the Dyachenkos work to be translated into English You may not love this my final rating is 4.5 stars for a somewhat raw translation and many moments of befuddlement but if you want something different from the same old, same old fantasy novel, these are some authors who deserve a wider audience flag 53 likesLike see review View all 4 comments Nov 19, 2018 Tatiana rated it really liked it Recommended to Tatiana by Barnes and Noble sci fi blog Shelves 2018, fantasy, russian, only i will like Who in the world wrote this book s blurb, comparing Vita Nostra to, of all things, Katherine Arden s The Bear and the Nightingale I know they both are set in Russia, but what do they really have in common Snow Don t be fooled, and if you want to pick up Vita Nostra because you liked The Bear and the Nightingale, just don t, ok If you need another fix of Russian bear, fur hats and balalaikas nonsense, Leigh Bardugo can supply those Vita Nostra was written by Russian authors, about Who in the world wrote this book s blurb, comparing Vita Nostra to, of all things, Katherine Arden s The Bear and the Nightingale I know they both are set in Russia, but what do they really have in common Snow Don t be fooled, and if you want to pick up Vita Nostra because you liked The Bear and the Nightingale, just don t, ok If you need another fix of Russian bear, fur hats and balalaikas nonsense, Leigh Bardugo can supply those Vita Nostra was written by Russian authors, about post Soviet Russia, and although this portrayal is not exceedingly complex, it is not a fetishized version of Russia, but a truer one, in all its vodka undies drying on a heating unit retrograde views on sex and relationships glory Vita Nostra is a completely different kind of beast, a mind trip, if you will It s a book of ideas, rather than a plot or character driven narrative In the beginning you think you are reading a story about a girl coerced into going to a magic school where nobody explains to her what she is studying and why And then gradually you learn along with this girl and go through a metamorphosis of your own and yes, you understand that the annoying teachers that kept telling Sasha that one day she d be ready to comprehend what the final goal of her education is, are correct Dyachenkos novel reminded me of Ted Chiang s work, whose strength is in ideas rather than character development Story of Your Lives offers similar type of mind expanding concept, IMO Vita Nostra is by no means a crowd pleaser, but I did enjoy this trip flag 52 likesLike see review View all 4 comments Jan 18, 2019 Rincey rated it really liked it This book is like Harry Potter, but if it was written by Kafka flag 42 likesLike see review View 1 comment Dec 06, 2018 Marchpane rated it it was amazing How is this baffling, esoteric, paranormal weirdness also the most accurate depiction of higher education I ve ever read flag 36 likesLike see review View all 5 comments May 10, 2013 Tatyana Naumova rated it it was amazing review of another edition 4 , 4 4 , 4 , flag 22 likesLike see review View 1 comment May 19, 2018 Nenia Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out of Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention Campbell marked it as fantasy wishlist THIS BOOK SOUNDS LIKE IT IS GOING TO BE MY EVERYTHING NEED NEED NEED NEED NEED NEED NEED flag 19 likesLike see review View 2 comments Apr 09, 2018 Lukasz rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves all time favorite In the beginning was the Word Science, or specifically the school of magic is a trope that s used a lot in fantasy literature Not surprising If done well it s a joy to read Have Diachenko s succeeded Short answer yes Vita Nostra twists the trope in most unexpected ways It s strange, thoughtful and dark tale about metamorphosis both physical and metaphysical that contains coming of age elements.Sasha is a regular, high school student who spends her holidays at the seaside She e In the beginning was the Word Science, or specifically the school of magic is a trope that s used a lot in fantasy literature Not surprising If done well it s a joy to read Have Diachenko s succeeded Short answer yes Vita Nostra twists the trope in most unexpected ways It s strange, thoughtful and dark tale about metamorphosis both physical and metaphysical that contains coming of age elements.Sasha is a regular, high school student who spends her holidays at the seaside She enjoys the sun, fresh morning breeze, chill and happy atmosphere Things change when a strange man with dark glasses approaches her and asks her to get up at 4 AM, go to the beach and swim naked to the buoy and back Every single day.In the beginning, Sasha wants to ignore the lunatic, but it turns out that she just can t For many reasons When she finally agrees and does her first 4 AM swim a bizarre thing happens she vomits golden coins She does it every day after her morning training Things develop a bit from here, and soon she finds herself forced to enter the Institute of Special Technologies in Torpa It s an Institute in the middle of nowhere Students aren t told what s the purpose of their studies However, a failure in school isn t an option When it happens, a students loved ones pay the price.The students fate remains unknown to them, but it seems they ll change in significant and unexpected ways For example, some of them will grow wings Temporarily And if you think it s bizarre, you know nothing about bizarre Happily, Dyachenko s will educate you in a mind blowing way.Students at the University are regular at least in the beginning teenagers anxious about growing up They drink, smoke and have sex They were selected for this school for reasons they don t understand, forced to come to Torpa and pursue impossible and incomprehensible classes that will allow them to gain a degree they know nothing about.As a reader, you re not in a better situation than students Lack of information or at least some hints about studies goal may be frustrating We learn fast that students play with the fabric of the reality but how is a question I asked myself multiple times Is it magic What are they becoming On the other hand, it s also one of the reasons why this novel is so fascinating and immersive It s told in a way that allowed me to enter the world smoothly and imagine and experience impossible things Occasional flashes of humor surface from time to time, but it s not a joyful tale Characters have few choices, and their existence serves a higher purpose known only be their mysterious and severe teachers The storytelling is influenced by modernism, and magical realism works The story happens in the modern era telephones and cell phones exist in this place but aren t as readily available as in real life Torpa is in the middle of nowhere, and its inhabitants are just sketched They don t play any significant role in the story.Dyachenko s focus on their characters psychology and inner metamorphosis They touch philosophical and metaphysical questions with finesse and skill that made me reread the ending five times Why is being human so vital to you Isn t it because you don t know anything else This book crafts wholly new vision of the world and the laws that govern it As the story progresses, Dyachenko s share some insights into the world metaphysics and if you ve ever been fascinated with the language and power of the words, you ll be satisfied with some of the discoveries.I could go on, but I won t Instead, I ll tell you this it s one of the best books I ve ever read It combines fascinating adventure with philosophical depth, impossible metamorphosis with profound psychological insights It s strange It s amazing It s brilliant.Side note I read Polish translation of the book It seems there used to be an English version, but it s no longer available Good news is that Tor will release a professional translation of Vita Nostra in November 2018 flag 18 likesLike see review View all 3 comments Nov 30, 2018 Rick from Another Book Vlog rated it really liked it I have SUCH conflicting thoughts about this book because it was crazy and interesting and groundbreaking and suspenseful and fucking weird and lacking antagonists and personality and structure and chapter breaks but it s so intriguing and different and beautiful and gross and almost too smart and then maybe not smart at all and enthralling and annoying and I want to clutch it to my chest and throw it at the wall at the same time AHAGAHSGAHSDGASGASDGJASHDGASGH Full review to come flag 17 likesLike see review Nov 17, 2018 Doug rated it did not like it GR friends have pointed out they can tell whether I am enjoying a book by how long it takes me to read it so the fact it took me 8 days to complete 400 pages should tell you something in comparison, I read the 500 pages of the far superior The Book of Strange New Things in less than 2 days I m not sure what even drew me to this book in the first place, since I don t read much fantasy although this barely qualifies , so it must have been the Russian aspect or the VERY cool cover I WASN GR friends have pointed out they can tell whether I am enjoying a book by how long it takes me to read it so the fact it took me 8 days to complete 400 pages should tell you something in comparison, I read the 500 pages of the far superior The Book of Strange New Things in less than 2 days I m not sure what even drew me to this book in the first place, since I don t read much fantasy although this barely qualifies , so it must have been the Russian aspect or the VERY cool cover I WASN T expecting Dostoevsky, but maybe something al0ng the lines of Sergei Lukyanenko s intriguing Watch books, which I really liked Fun fact Timur Bekmambetov, who directed fabulous films of the first two Watch books is also set to adapt this mess good luck to him This landed squarely in the wheelhouse of things that drive me crazy in a book tedious descriptions of things that ultimately have no meaning repetitious episodes cf Reservoir 13 and Milkman pseudo profundity that doesn t really denote ANYTHING, or bear close scrutiny schmaltzy ending This is basically one trope repeated ad nauseum protagonist Sasha is assigned a bizarre and ridiculous task to complete i.e swimming naked to a buoy and back at 4 AM listening to silent CDs for hours on end jogging around a park for an hour and then peeing in the bushes no, I am NOT making that up that IS the level of this horror show she initially has trouble complying, and then voila is able to do the task rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat The writing itself is flat perhaps due to an inferior translation , and the subsidiary characters all tend to blur together Episodes that would seem to have some importance are tossed off so offhandedly e.g the attack at the ending of part one , that when they are brought up 150 pages later I couldn t even recall them and had to backtrack and then they lead nowhere anyway Anyway, by the time I figured out this wasn t going anywhere interesting, I had already gotten to the 1 3 way mark and valiantly trudged on, but wish I had trusted my instinct to DNF it What a lousy start to 2019 flag 15 likesLike see review View all 11 comments Oct 31, 2018 Lou rated it it was amazing review of another edition Vita Nostra, first published in 2007 in Ukraine, tells the story of Alexandra Sasha Samokhina, who whilst vacationing with her mother meets Farit Kozhennikov, a strange and sinister looking man who forces her to attend a remote and mysterious university This novel follows her adventures and exploits One word that cannot be used to describe this novel is boring It is certainly far from that and combines many different genres to create a truly original story While I did enjoy aspects, I, unf Vita Nostra, first published in 2007 in Ukraine, tells the story of Alexandra Sasha Samokhina, who whilst vacationing with her mother meets Farit Kozhennikov, a strange and sinister looking man who forces her to attend a remote and mysterious university This novel follows her adventures and exploits One word that cannot be used to describe this novel is boring It is certainly far from that and combines many different genres to create a truly original story While I did enjoy aspects, I, unfortunately, found it rather perplexing and surreal, so much so that for the majority of the time I had no inclination about what was actually happening However, there was something stopping me from just giving up and moving on to something else As a fan of Haruki Murakami and his intensely descriptive prose, I also appreciated that here, although those who don t enjoy that style of writing may wish to avoid this, as it means that the story is quite static and takes rather a long time to come to fruition In the end, the story does make sense, and I respected the attempt at making it a unique title that readers will remember for a long time By the time the conclusion came, I was very sad to be leaving this fantastical, fictional world and can now absolutely understand why this book has a cult following I suspect I will pick this up again and see what sort of impression it leaves on me after the second time Intriguing, extraordinary, well written, wonderfully atmospheric and thoroughly unforgettable If you enjoy fantasy, I urge you to give this a go Many thanks to HarperVoyager for an ARC I was not required to post a review, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own flag 14 likesLike see review Nov 04, 2018 Acqua rated it it was ok Recommends it for how much do you like to not get what you read Shelves adult, arc, boring, contemp fantasy, love cover, weird ones Vita Nostra is one of the creepiest books I ve ever read.I almost feel like I m doing it a disservice by calling it creepy , because it s so much than that, but my vocabulary in English is what it is As this book is about projections, I think it makes sense that the explanation of my feelings in English will be only a shadow of what I could say in Italian.As I was saying, it s creepy There s no on page death, there are no monsters, hauntings or anything scary, really It s just so overwh Vita Nostra is one of the creepiest books I ve ever read.I almost feel like I m doing it a disservice by calling it creepy , because it s so much than that, but my vocabulary in English is what it is As this book is about projections, I think it makes sense that the explanation of my feelings in English will be only a shadow of what I could say in Italian.As I was saying, it s creepy There s no on page death, there are no monsters, hauntings or anything scary, really It s just so overwhelmingly hopeless and unsettling it can t avoid being creepy It s also deeply weird, which doesn t help.I could say I appreciated how complex and multilayered Vita Nostra was, I could say I enjoyed this 400 page long journey into the weirdness, I could say the ending was a satisfying conclusion I would be lying This is a very unique book, and in a way I m glad I read it, but it couldn t hold my attention and I skimmed most of it I also didn t get some parts of it, which was somewhat frustrating, but it s not like I expect answers from this kind of books.In a way, for me reading Vita Nostra was just like the main character s experience as a first year student in this questionable magical university the words she has to read and study do not make sense together even when they and they don t always make sense individually Vita Nostra is like that most scene seem to make sense, but as a whole I don t get it Not as much as I hoped, at least.I could say that the characterization felt really weak to me, that the main character is often annoyingly judgmental, that the worldbuilding is barely there, but I got enough to understand that none of these things is in any way the point I can t review this like I would with any other fantasy novel What is the point, then Don t ask me if I knew, I would have given it a higher rating But I can say one thing even though it was creepy and weird and unique and complex, it was also really boring, and I don t care about the point, for me boring is always a flaw flag 13 likesLike see review Nov 27, 2018 Lauren Shakespeare Whisky rated it it was amazing review of another edition The best and most fascinating book I have read in years flag 12 likesLike see review View 2 comments Jul 28, 2014 Aliette rated it it was amazing review of another edition cross posted from my blog review Sasha is a normal, straight A high school student until, on a holiday with her mother, a strange man with dark glasses approaches her, and asks her to get up at 4am every morning and swim to a buoy on the beach She tries to ignore him, but when she does so, time stops passing the same day loops over and over, trapping her in a morass of impending dread When she finally takes the man s advice and swims, she finds herself vomitting gold coins on the beach and cross posted from my blog review Sasha is a normal, straight A high school student until, on a holiday with her mother, a strange man with dark glasses approaches her, and asks her to get up at 4am every morning and swim to a buoy on the beach She tries to ignore him, but when she does so, time stops passing the same day loops over and over, trapping her in a morass of impending dread When she finally takes the man s advice and swims, she finds herself vomitting gold coins on the beach and, before she knows it, onboard a train to a university in the middle of nowhere, where she will learn Specialty The nature of Specialty is unclear, the textbook abstruse but the penalty for failure is all too clear, ranging from the death of the students families to the impairment and death of the students themselves Specialty is a book filled with incomprehensible sentences but as the students read it, they find themselves changing in mind and body and Sasha, who is ahead of her peers, is destined for something both huge and frightening The parallels between this and Harry Potter are hard to ignore magical school, specially picked students , but you should probably put them out of your mind Vita Nostra is a different, darker book the students are university age, with adult preoccupations and the magic, far from cookie cutter spells, is impredictable, incomprehensible, and wildly dangerous and Sasha s position as a special student is far from enviable There s a palpable, oppressive sense of doom and dread throughout the entire novel, building to a very satisfying climax which nevertheless leaves a lot of questions dangling in the air this isn t a book which will do a point by point explanation of its worldbuilding, but it s a book that works as it is I read this cover to cover in an evening which should tell you something, as any free time those days is generally against my better judgment the book draws you in, and, especially in the last quarter or so, an accelerating build up towards the placement exam that is meant to seal the students fate, is darn hard to put down Recommended.This is my first book from the Dyachenkos, a Ukrainian husband and wife team, but it certainly won t be my last Tor published their epic fantasy The Scar, and I have every intention of trying it flag 11 likesLike see review May 08, 2018 unknown rated it it was amazing A novel that will make your head hurt if you think too much about what it seems to be about Better to concentrate on what it is actually about, which is that liminal period in your early 20s when you begin to transition into an adult, and realize how utterly terrifying and final that transformation is flag 10 likesLike see review Dec 10, 2018 Angela Boord rated it it was amazing Shelves speculative fiction First of all, I thought Vita Nostra was an amazing book, the best book I ve read this year It s a book I ll probably think over for a long time But I m having a hard time deciding what to write in a review And from reading other reviews of the book, I think I may not be the only one who s suffered from that affliction People tend to make a lot of the sinister, creepy and bizarre atmosphere of the magic school Or they talk about how the book is about transformations Or they mention the wo First of all, I thought Vita Nostra was an amazing book, the best book I ve read this year It s a book I ll probably think over for a long time But I m having a hard time deciding what to write in a review And from reading other reviews of the book, I think I may not be the only one who s suffered from that affliction People tend to make a lot of the sinister, creepy and bizarre atmosphere of the magic school Or they talk about how the book is about transformations Or they mention the wonderfully drawn characters All of this is true and any one of them is a reason you should pick up the book But there s some other quality to the book that goes beyond what I feel like I can say about it It s the kind of thing that makes you shove a book at someone in a book store with no explanation other than, Read this, it s fantastic, I loved it Part of that is because Vita Nostra doesn t fit neatly into any genre pigeonholes The story begins when a teenage Sasha is approached by a strange man while on holiday and given various bizarre and distasteful tasks to perform or else There aren t any Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans in this magic school instead, if you miss the train or if you don t do your homework, terrible things are going to happen to people you love It s that strange, dark atmosphere that draws you into the story At first I was just trying to figure out what was going on and hoping what I thought was going on wasn t But at some point the story begins to change It gets bigger You watch Sasha going through all the normal things that people go through in their university years as they re growing into the adults that they re going to be You watch her mother grapple with Sasha s changes, too Characters make bad decisions and suffer consequences You worry that everything is not going to be all right in the end You realize that what you thought about all these people students and professors, especially professors might not be entirely true Probably the story affected me than it will affect some readers because I am at the stage in my life where I have two kids in college So I both remember what it was like to go through that awkward late teens, early 20 s period and I relate to Sasha s mother, who goes through her own growing pains as Sasha changes According to the author s acknowledgments, the authors were in a similar stage of life when they wrote the book their daughter was a teenager about to embark on her own journey to adulthood I think that this makes the book, in the end, very compassionate toward both the younger characters as well as the older ones.The other reason this story resonated with me was how it dealt with fear and love Almost three years ago my youngest child was born with Down Syndrome and a large hole in her heart, which was thank God able to be repaired by heart surgery But sometimes I am still blindsided when I read a book that deals with the issue of watching those we love suffer I will say that the ending struck exactly the right note for me, but I had to go cry for a while.Other people have remarked that this is a very Russian book, and I think that as most native English speaking readers view Russian literature it probably is it is dark, emotional, and intense, written in gorgeous prose And kudos have to go to the translator here she did a phenomenal job As I understand it, Russian literature is difficult to translate into English But I think also that it s helpful to read it in an historical moment the book is all about transformations, about growing pains, about changes, and considering that it was originally published in Russian in 2007, 16 years after the fall of the USSR, I think that some of that bleeds through the setting There s a collision between the old ways of doing things and what might be the new ones.Usually I dislike it when people call books modern classics because how do you know yet But I think that this is the kind of book you could read when you re 25 and get certain things from it, and then pick it up again at 45 and get others It isn t the sort of book you read when you need something quick and light, or if you like plot heavy fiction, or if you don t like characters who make bad decisions sometimes, or if you dislike your fiction to be emotional, or if you like magic systems with lots of rules The magic in this one is very mysterious And also highly philosophical But if you want fantasy that s going to make you think and feel I highly recommend this book flag 9 likesLike see review Jan 12, 2019 Rina rated it liked it Shelves fiction Any instance of learning is coercion The first hundred pages of Vita Nostra read like a dark fantasy with a similar atmosphere to the show, Magicians After Sasha s introduction to her mysterious university it became clear that this book was of an allegorical criticism of Russian academia Although the book is beautifully written I found it to be extremely repetitive I would not recommend this book to fans of fantasy, but for new college students who are looking for something philos Any instance of learning is coercion The first hundred pages of Vita Nostra read like a dark fantasy with a similar atmosphere to the show, Magicians After Sasha s introduction to her mysterious university it became clear that this book was of an allegorical criticism of Russian academia Although the book is beautifully written I found it to be extremely repetitive I would not recommend this book to fans of fantasy, but for new college students who are looking for something philosophical flag 9 likesLike see review Nov 24, 2012 Kilian Metcalf rated it it was amazing review of another edition Just finished a reread of this book, and it was just as good the second time around Maybe better because I was aware of small details I had overlooked in my rush of a first reading to find out what was going to happen next Love you, Sasha, you rock flag 9 likesLike see review Jun 06, 2018 Tbfrank rated it it was amazing The world as hypertexta product of human languageCreation myths take various forms, one of which states the world does not exist until the the objects within it are given names A corollary states that knowing and uttering a True name conveys control over that object or being Persons capable of wielding this power have been called shamans, magicians, gods, and writers This particular theme makes a frequent appearance in fantastic literature from Le Guin s The Word for World is Forest to R The world as hypertexta product of human languageCreation myths take various forms, one of which states the world does not exist until the the objects within it are given names A corollary states that knowing and uttering a True name conveys control over that object or being Persons capable of wielding this power have been called shamans, magicians, gods, and writers This particular theme makes a frequent appearance in fantastic literature from Le Guin s The Word for World is Forest to Rothfuss s The Name of the Wind, and Graedon s The Word Exchange, or Fforde s The Eyre Affair, to name only a few.In Vita Nostra, the idea is taken further The world and its contents, reality as we experience it, is considered as information To understand and master the ability to manipulate these informational objects, each person must be deconstructed and reconstructed through a series of mental and emotional gymnastics Naturally, this requires education and training in a place of higher learning, The Institute of Special Technologies another common theme As easy as it is to make the comparison to Hogwarts, living in the dormitories was closer to the cells in the gulag in terms of comfort if not the number of occupants.Seventeen year old Sasha is selected by a mysterious stranger as a prospective adept and given a series of unpleasant tasks Manipulated by an irrational fear of the consequence of non compliance, she falls under the control of a being Shasa is certain is not human, possibly a demon or an alien She believes that Farit, who becomes her adviser at the Institute, can affect the lives of her loved ones, first her mother, then her mother s new husband, and her baby brother As she progresses, Sasha learns a person is not a wholly self contained entity they are reflected in those persons and objects around them in various degrees and that to love is to be vulnerable, hence fearful Farit admits he motivated Sasha by focusing her fears.The idea of objects manipulated through human action at a distance, sometimes called magic, sometimes psychic abilities, is another common theme reflecting the very human desire and belief to affect objects and events remotely This can produce positive or negative results Saying, doing, thinking, believing, or praying the right or approved or acceptable things ought to prevent the worst from happening ConverselyAs Sasha progresses, she begins to appreciate the differences in the mundane nature of human conversation how so much is essentially filler, void of informational content yet uttering the right or the wrong words can produce a profound effect Doctor Who comes to mind as a fictional example the 2012 Christmas episode where Clara Oswald, needing the Doctor s help, is told to select a single word that will interest him She chooses Pond, the source of her concern and incidentally the surname of The Doctor previous companion Sasha also begins to physically change, to undergo metamorphosis, raising another theme, what it means to be human She senses that some of the professors were once human while others are not and seem to have little compassion for their charges if any feelings at all She fears becoming less human or non human, unwilling to relinquish a human centric view of reality.The novel is broadly based in magic realism reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marques and Ray Bradbury The multiple elements and layers hid the authors goal very well, making the reader uncertain if the students were being trained to fight an alien war or being prepared for translation to a computerized form Set in a remote village named Torpa, the name is found as a district in Sweden and another in India Why the main street was named Sacco and Vanzetti, two Italian anarchists whose execution in 1927 produced world wide protests, is not revealed.Sasha, thought to be an imperative verb a command is discovered to be a password during her final exam She appears to be confronted by the creator, perhaps another being similar to herself or God, and becomes afraid As a password, she has the power to unlock a new information matrix, to rebuild the existing or a new reality based on her first words She hesitatesand having read the ending several times, what she decided to do, whether she passed or failed, is murky I like to think she chose wisely Post Script China Mieville s The Last Days of New Paris, this line jumped out I n the right context you can make words do all kinds of things flag 8 likesLike see review Jan 17, 2019 Vavita rated it really liked it review of another edition What a ride I don t know when book 2 and 3 will be translated into English, but I can t wait This book for sure deserves to be read and re read it needs to be marinated and savored It is very cerebral dark and complicated although maybe not for everybody flag 8 likesLike see review Oct 23, 2013 Cheshirka rated it it was amazing review of another edition ,.Vita Nostra Vita Nostra flag 8 likesLike see review View 2 comments Jan 08, 2019 Calvin Park rated it really liked it Shelves urban contemporary, fantasy Words define things They add substance They symbolize a thing But they are not the thing itself Kant suggests that the ding an sich is unknowable That s an approximation of how I feel about Vita Nostra, written by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko and translated by Julia Meitov Hersey This is a brilliant novel that is difficult to describe with words I worry that the essence of this novel can only be experienced, not reviewed or described.Yet words are the only medium I have for a review, and s Words define things They add substance They symbolize a thing But they are not the thing itself Kant suggests that the ding an sich is unknowable That s an approximation of how I feel about Vita Nostra, written by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko and translated by Julia Meitov Hersey This is a brilliant novel that is difficult to describe with words I worry that the essence of this novel can only be experienced, not reviewed or described.Yet words are the only medium I have for a review, and so I must use them I could call the novel ominous, dark, suspenseful, thrilling, introspective, and provocative All those words would be accurate It s also engrossing and gripping It s been awhile since a novel has grabbed me as much as Vita Nostra Sasha, the main character, is forced quite against her will to attend a magic school It s sort of Harry Potter set in Russia with older characters and oblique and not so oblique references to Kant, Cicero, and Shakespeare Also, the professors are well, not like Dumbledore What the Dyachenkos do amazingly well is Sasha s characterization Her voice jumps off the pages and hooks you from almost the first paragraph One is gripped by the question of her fate, what she is becoming There are elements of horror and psychological suspense in this story as well The plot and pacing are excellent, keeping the pages turning This is the sort of novel I could easily have seen myself staying up into the wee hours of the morning to finish The engaging plot, excellent pacing, and amazing characterization makes the story jump off the page The take on magic in this novel is scientific in the extreme, and yet doesn t quite feel like any other hard magic system I ve ever encountered While being scientific it remains mysterious, scary, and at times than a little creepy Frankly, I m amazed this hasn t already been turned into a movie or Netflix miniseries Having loved the novel so much, what prevents it from achieving a perfect or near perfect score For me there were moments where I became confused Possibly some finer point of the philosophical soared over my head, and had I brushed up recently on my European philosophers I might have avoided confusion Perhaps it was the style of the narrative, which often has brief time jumps with little blocking or explanation There were a few times when I simply sat back and wondered why Sasha was making the decisions she was making, or behaving in the way she was behaving There was a particular section toward the middle of the novel when these tendencies led to a bit of frustration on my part Vita Nostra is a dark and suspenseful read There are moments where the narrative feels ominous and moments where it feels introspective often it feels both introspective and ominous at the same time If you enjoy literary fantasy that is highly psychological and cerebral, touching on philosophical questions, this is the one for you 4.4 5 stars.5 I loved this, couldn t put it down, move it to the top of your TBR pile4 I really enjoyed this, add it to the TBR pile3 It was ok, depending on your preferences it may be worth your time2 I didn t like this book, it has significant flaws and I can t recommend it 1 I loathe this book with a most loathsome loathing flag 7 likesLike see review View 2 comments Jan 23, 2019 Avanders rated it really liked it Shelves discovered, fiction and literature, russian, sci fi fantasy, speculative I had to think about this for a bit.I finished last night I could hardly describe it well, I could describe it, but for me to say than it s about a girl forced to go to a weird college in Russia where weird things are happening but we don t know what would be spoiler The plot is deceptively simple the text is heady and philosophical The pace is slow, yet it always felt like a page turner I never wanted to put it down I can t believe the imagination involved in not only coming I had to think about this for a bit.I finished last night I could hardly describe it well, I could describe it, but for me to say than it s about a girl forced to go to a weird college in Russia where weird things are happening but we don t know what would be spoiler The plot is deceptively simple the text is heady and philosophical The pace is slow, yet it always felt like a page turner I never wanted to put it down I can t believe the imagination involved in not only coming up w the concept, but executing it in an appealing novel format It was fascinating But I could tell you what happens with spoilers in just a few sentences, probably But it s well, it s clearly not really about what happens, so much as the process And the thoughts And how we see our lives and the people in them And I ll stop there And I ll definitely be waiting for the 2nd book to be translated into English If this sounds good to you You ll probably enjoy it flag 7 likesLike see review Dec 23, 2018 Joseph rated it liked it Shelves contemporary fiction, coming of age, fiction in translation, netgalley, russian literature, science fiction, weird fiction Vita Nostra was first published in Ukraine in 2007, in the original Russian After garnering prizes and a cult following, this novel by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko is now being published by HarperCollins in an English translation by Julia Meitov Hersey It has been compared to The Magicians by Lev Grossman, who has claimed that Vita Nostra has become a powerful influence on his own writing A reviewer describes it as Harry Potter, were it written by Lev Tolstoy It s a helpful an Vita Nostra was first published in Ukraine in 2007, in the original Russian After garnering prizes and a cult following, this novel by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko is now being published by HarperCollins in an English translation by Julia Meitov Hersey It has been compared to The Magicians by Lev Grossman, who has claimed that Vita Nostra has become a powerful influence on his own writing A reviewer describes it as Harry Potter, were it written by Lev Tolstoy It s a helpful analogy, but one which does not really prepare you for the novel s enthralling weirdness.It starts out like a slice of post Soviet realism, with Sasha Samokhina, the 16 year old protagonist, vacationing at a rather sordid resort with her single mother Sasha notices that she is being stalked by a stranger, whom she cannot avoid, however hard she tries Things soon take a turn for the bizarre When Sasha finally speaks to the stranger, he sets her awkward challenges which border on the abusive, and test her physical and psychological endurance to the limit The price for failing is high one near miss brings about nearly fatal consequences for the persons closest to Sasha It turns out all these rather disturbing goings on are a prelude to Sasha being called to join the mysterious Institute of Special Technologies Potterheads will be disappointed to learn that this is no Russian Hogwarts It is situated in the nondescript provincial town of Torpa its advanced students seem deranged or crippled its lecturers are threatening its curriculum, and particularly the dreaded Specialty lecture, seems maddeningly and pointlessly difficult And there s a clear sense that failure is simply not an option Throughout the novel, Sasha considers not entering the Institute and, eventually, escaping from there But can she ever bring herself to do that when it would put her life and her family in mortal danger The atmosphere of dread never lifts and it is accentuated by the fact that for most of the book, neither Sasha nor the readers are really aware what the course is all about, what its aims are and what it will all lead to Like the protagonist, we are kept in the dark and slowly discover part of the truth with her These gradual revelations makes Vita Nostra eminently readable, despite the fact that its plot is not really spectacular and often built on abstruse concepts At one level, it can be enjoyed as a coming of age or college novel, one in which Sasha Samokhina experiences love and grows into an independent adult At the same time, the fantastical elements give it an added dimension, making us wonder what the heck is going on at the Institute By the end of the book, we notice that the novel has prodded us into considering weighty philosophical concepts, such as fate and free will do we really have choices, or are these set by others, or by our own fears and limitations This was one of the most mind boggling, unusual and memorable books read this year and probably the one with the most striking cover If I chop off a couple of stars from my rating it is because I found the language used rather awkward I can t say whether it s the translation or a quirk of the original, but I felt that the shifts from colloquial to a high flying style were clunky and unconvincing But this is, ultimately, a novel one reads for its baffling ideas I recommend it precisely for being so strange.Read at flag 6 likesLike see review View 1 comment Jan 24, 2019 Rachel rachandbooks rated it really liked it Shelves arc, audiobooks, fantasy, read 2019, series, translated, semi favorites This book may have melted my brain but I m not complaining flag 6 likesLike see review Dec 09, 2018 Barbara McEwen rated it it was amazing review of another edition Part of me doesn t want to review this book at all because inevitably some people will not like it and I enjoyed it so much I might take their dislike personally I realize how melodramatic that is but I can t help it I have a connection with this book now.So the blurb is a good start to what you are getting into but obviously not the whole picture You have a young woman teenager, Sasha, who meets a creepy stranger, setting off a bizarre series of events in her life You experience Sasha s fea Part of me doesn t want to review this book at all because inevitably some people will not like it and I enjoyed it so much I might take their dislike personally I realize how melodramatic that is but I can t help it I have a connection with this book now.So the blurb is a good start to what you are getting into but obviously not the whole picture You have a young woman teenager, Sasha, who meets a creepy stranger, setting off a bizarre series of events in her life You experience Sasha s fears, what it is to grow and learn and develop your own convictions This is sort of the closest you get to a traditional story It is also delightfully weird and Russian I hope that isn t stereotyping but I mean it in the most loving way It is chock full of weirdness and terrifying beauty and ideas, some understandable and many not I can t imagine how it was written and I can t imagine changing a thing What a translation too, unbelievable So obviously I adore it and think it is a treasure but will you like it You have to like strange books and accept not always knowing what is happening I was flipping around rereading little snippets trying to figure out what was going on and sometimes you are overwhelmed, but I am sure this is the sense you are supposed to have I enjoyed the plot and characters but I am not sure they are dominant over the ideas in the book, they share the spotlight I am really not articulating this well but go into it with an open mind and enjoy the ride flag 6 likesLike see review Dec 18, 2018 Perry rated it it was ok review of another edition Conjunction Junction What s Your Function How can I rate a book when I am still trying to figure out what happened What if your Hogwarts magic superpower is transforming into an adverb, a pronoun, an article, etc flag 6 likesLike see review Jul 27, 2014 Spigana rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves recomendations, russian literature, science fiction fantasy, than once, ukrainian literature P c gr matas pabeig anas ir v lme vienlaikus gan klus t, gan nebeidzam straum izsp aut visus neatbild tos jaut jumus un sp c g s emocijas Neparasta gr mata un oti at ir ga no visa, ko las m rietumu kult r Melna, iespaid ga un lieliska gr mata, kas ievelk sev un piln b nost da galven s varones viet Izcili uzb v ta un p rliecino a ma ija, kura ir tikpat br ni ga cik b stama Te nav nek vienk r a vai pa saprotama un autori ir paveiku i to, kas gr mat nebija iesp jams cilv ku valod P c gr matas pabeig anas ir v lme vienlaikus gan klus t, gan nebeidzam straum izsp aut visus neatbild tos jaut jumus un sp c g s emocijas Neparasta gr mata un oti at ir ga no visa, ko las m rietumu kult r Melna, iespaid ga un lieliska gr mata, kas ievelk sev un piln b nost da galven s varones viet Izcili uzb v ta un p rliecino a ma ija, kura ir tikpat br ni ga cik b stama Te nav nek vienk r a vai pa saprotama un autori ir paveiku i to, kas gr mat nebija iesp jams cilv ku valod izst st ju i pasaules uzb vi Mana krievu valoda gan ne va uztvert visas nianses un gr ti spriest par valodas skaistumu in gr mat , bet gr mata mani nepr t gi aizr va un no t s nebija iesp jams p rsl gties uz ko citu Iesaku visiem, kuri izbauda melnas fant zijas gr matas un nebaid s no izofr nijas piedevas literat r flag 6 likesLike see review View all 8 comments Nov 28, 2018 alexa rated it it was amazing Shelves 2018 faves, magical realism, mother russia so vita nostra begins with our protagonist, sasha, on vacation with her mother a strange man begins to follow her she is suitably terrified one day he approaches her and asks demands that every morning at 4 am, she swim naked to the buoy and back subtly, he threatens her mother s life so she does and she vomits up gold coinsd that is how the novel begins only gets batshit crazy from there tasks follow and eventually, sasha is coerced into attending the institute for s so vita nostra begins with our protagonist, sasha, on vacation with her mother a strange man begins to follow her she is suitably terrified one day he approaches her and asks demands that every morning at 4 am, she swim naked to the buoy and back subtly, he threatens her mother s life so she does and she vomits up gold coinsd that is how the novel begins only gets batshit crazy from there tasks follow and eventually, sasha is coerced into attending the institute for special technologies, a university no one has ever heard of in a town in the middle of nowhere there, along with others who have been similarly coerced, she learnsgibberish she learns impossible things the professors don t explain why their students have to memorise paragraphs of nonsensical letters, or listen to tapes full of silence, or anything else they don t explain why the second years are all maimed or odd or terrifying they don t explain what happens to the third years when they move to another location they don t explain anything and hanging above it all above the homework beyond comprehension, above the usual craze for booze and boys is the threat if the students fail, their families die and we, the readers, have absolutely no idea what is going on either vita nostra simmers under this oppressive, confusing, occasionally wondrous atmosphere, with a decidedly russian temperament and style the authors are a russian married couple, very prolific and celebrated, and this is one of their only novels to be translated to english it s full of philosophy, horror, magical realism, literary references, meditations on love and though, like sasha, we understand nothing of why she has to do these things, what s happening to her, it s absolutely addictive to read i stayed up until 2 am to finish it, and it left my head hurting, my brain melting, my skull carved out do i know what it means of course not i need to re read it but i felt, somehow, as the dyachenkos gave me something enlightening, as if i did understand it but i didn t know how to articulate it, or even keep my understanding s so incredible it s indescribable it s one of the most unique reading experiences i have ever had i might even write about it for grad school flag 5 likesLike see review previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next new topicDiscuss This Book topics posts views last activity Librari Combine Editions of Vita Nostra by Marina Dyachenko 2 22 Nov 12, 2018 06 57AM Librari Combine Vita Nostra 3 28 Sep 21, 2018 11 46PM More topics Share Recommend It Stats Recent Status Updates 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    Vita Nostra , by Marina Dyachenko Community Reviews Vita Nostra is an even darker story, with occasional flashes of humor surfacing in the dark waters of a story that seems to be dragging you along toward some unknown, unknowable fate, with characters who have few choices, who know they exist only to act out their predefined roles. Vita Nostra Vita Nostra Vita Nostra is a novel by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko Maryna and Serhiy Dyachenko first published in in Ukraine The novel tells the story of Alexandra Sasha Samokhina, who is forced by an unknown man to attend a remote and mysterious university. Vita Nostra A Novel Sergey and Marina Dyachenko Vita Nostra a cross between Lev Grossman s The Magicians and Elizabeth Kostova s The Historian is the anti Harry Potter you didn t know you wanted The Washington Post Vita Nostra Sergey and Marina Dyachenko Hardcover Vita Nostra a cross between Lev Grossman s The Magicians and Elizabeth Kostova s The Historian is the anti Harry Potter you didn t know you wanted The Washington Post Vita Nostra The Mission Ennio Morricone Soundtrack Jan , Banda Sonora de la pelcula La Misin Category Music Suggested by UMG Ennio Morricone The Best of Ennio Morricone Greatest Hits High Quality Audio Vita Nostra bookbrowse Vita Nostra The prices oh, the prices were simply ludicrous In the end, Mom rented a tiny room in a five story building twenty minutes from the shore, with windows facing west The other room in the one bedroom apartment was occupied by a young couple, with whom they would have to share the kitchen, bathroom, and toilet. Vita Nostra Home Facebook Vita Nostra dom za stare i nemocne je upravo taj kojem bih dala najvecu ocjenu u svemu.Osoba koja ov dje boravi dobila je zasigurno najkvalitetniju njegu i pomoc jer sam se osobno sama uvjerila.Naime,moj tata je nekoliko mjeseci odlazio tamo na dnevni boravak, no nazalost radi uznapredovale demencije njemu je potrebna dvadesetcetrisatna pomoc. Vita Nostra by Marina Dyachenko Review BookPage There s really no way to approach Vita Nostra but elliptically, so strap in By way of orientation, imagine that Hogwarts has opened a satellite campus inside Harry Haller s Magic Theater from Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse, and assigned Kafka, Dostoevsky and Rod Serling to oversee the curriculum. Book Marks reviews of Vita Nostra by Sergey and Marina Nov , Vita Nostra is a dark, enthralling fantasy quite unlike any other Avoiding many contemporary plot devices, the book relies instead on an intoxicating sense of VITA NOSTRA by Sergiy Dyachenko , Maryna Shyrshova Punishingly intense academic pressure transforms a university student into a transcendent being in this harrowing fantasy novel by a married Ukrainian couple, the first in a trilogy.

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    About “Marina Dyachenko

    • Marina Dyachenko

      Marina and Sergey Dyachenko co authors of novels, short fiction, plays and scripts They primarily write in Russian and in the past also in Ukrainian with several novels translated into English and published in the United States These include, Vita Nostra 2012 , The Scar 2012 , The Burned Tower 2012 , and Age of Witches 2014 The primary genres of their books are modern spe Marina and Sergey Dyachenko co authors of novels, short fiction, plays and scripts They primarily write in Russian and in the past also in Ukrainian with several novels translated into English and published in the United States These include, Vita Nostra 2012 , The Scar 2012 , The Burned Tower 2012 , and Age of Witches 2014 The primary genres of their books are modern speculative fiction, fantasy, and literary tales

    347 thoughts on “Vita Nostra

    • At the start of this novel, 16 year old Sasha Samokhina is on a seaside vacation with her mother, where after a few days she finds herself stalked by a mysterious man with pale skin and dark glasses She is eventually confronted by this stranger, who entreats Sasha to wake up at 4 am every morning, go to the beach, take off all her clothes, and swim to a buoy and back She reluctantly agrees to this strange task, and as soon as she s back on shore that first morning, she starts to vomit gold coi A [...]


    • Sometimes a book is so custom made for me that I am unsure whether I can reasonably recommend it to anyone or if the reading experience was incredible just because the book hit all my favourite things This is one of those times Combining some of my greatest loves in fiction dark fantasy, inspired by Russian literature, set in the middle of nowhere with plenty of snow, combining boarding school tropes with unconventional storytelling, this book was everything to me.This book follows Sasha, who So [...]


    • This is a most unusual novel, especially for Western readers It s strange and thoughtful and dark, full of psychological twists and turns, metaphysical tangents, and the desperately humorous shenanigans of young adults carrying on at a grim Russian boarding school that is turning them all into what, they do not exactly know.I described Marina and Sergey Dyachenko s novel The Scar as swords sorcery if written by Fyodor Dostoevsky I don t think I m stretching the Russian lit analogy t This is a mo [...]


    • Who in the world wrote this book s blurb, comparing Vita Nostra to, of all things, Katherine Arden s The Bear and the Nightingale I know they both are set in Russia, but what do they really have in common Snow Don t be fooled, and if you want to pick up Vita Nostra because you liked The Bear and the Nightingale, just don t, ok If you need another fix of Russian bear, fur hats and balalaikas nonsense, Leigh Bardugo can supply those Vita Nostra was written by Russian authors, about Who in the worl [...]



    • How is this baffling, esoteric, paranormal weirdness also the most accurate depiction of higher education I ve ever read



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