Things I loved:
It reads like a classic, but is easy to read: The language is simple and the style is uncomplicated. The main character's perception is everything in Irkadura, and while this is often metaphorical, its never confusing. Ksenia Anske's settings and descriptions are direct but nonetheless imbue the story with incredible atmosphere.
I adore psychological complexity in a character: I'm not entirely sure how to define Irina's state of mind. While she obviously has a tendency to disassociate from reality, it seems to be more of a self-defence mechanism than episodes of psychosis. I also thought it was handled very realistically.
A story within a story: One on hand, you have Irina escaping from her messed up family, and on the other, you have the social and political dissatisfaction of Russia before World War Two. These two story threads interact with subtle complexity.
What I didn't like:
Assholes everywhere: At first, this was just about how I think its a pity that there's only one thoroughly decent male character in this book, but then I realized that all the female characters are assholes too.
Almost awful ending: This is entirely subjective. The ending isn't really bad, and certainly isn't badly written, but I hoped for a happier ending.
Short note about the name: ‘Dura’ is the feminine version of idiot or fool, while Irka is a diminutive version of Irina. So the nickname Irkadura translates to ‘Irina is an idiot’
This book is complex, disturbing, and beautiful. I loved it even while it was breaking my heart, and in all the sadness and trauma, only once did I feel like it was gratuitous. The horseflies seemed unnecessary to me, but I also have to admit that its not unlikely (this goes back to the assholes everywhere section) I think everybody should read this book.
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