Read Mother Winter: A Memoir by Sophia Shalmiyev Online

Mother Winter: A Memoir

An arresting memoir equal parts refugee-coming-of-age story, feminist manifesto, and meditation on motherhood, displacement, gender politics, and art that follows award-winning writer Sophia Shalmiyevs flight from the Soviet Union, where she was forced to abandon her estranged mother, and her subsequent quest to find her.Born to a Russian mother and an Azerbaijani father, Shalmiyev was raised in the stark oppressiveness of 1980s Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). An imbalance of power and the prevalence of antisemitism in her homeland led her father to steal Shalmiyev away, emigrating to America, abandoning her estranged mother, Elena. At age eleven, Shalmiyev found herself on a plane headed west, motherless and terrified of the new world unfolding before her.Now a mother herself, in Mother Winter Shalmiyev depicts in urgent vignettes her emotional journeys as an immigrant, an artist, and a woman raised without her mother. She tells of her early days in St. Petersburg, a land unkind to wo...

Title : Mother Winter: A Memoir
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781501193088
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 288 pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Mother Winter: A Memoir Reviews

  • Abby Kincer

    Follow me on Instagram @bookmarkedbya and see my full review at

    The piercingly personal memoir of Shalmiyev’s life and lifelong desire to know and understand her mother.

    Sophia was born into poverty in Soviet-era Russia, and into a painfully difficult childhood. Her mother abused alcohol and was soon stripped of her parental custody. Her father was well-intentioned but neglectful, forcing her to be her own caretaker - both physically and emotionally - and

  • Nicole Swinson

    This is Sophia’s debut book; a memoir of her life and I feel memoirs cannot be given ratings like a fictional book, because this is her story, she lived it and she is gifting it to us and I am grateful she did. Release Date February 2019

    Sophia elegantly and lyrically takes us on the journey of her life, what it was like for her to live without her mother. A mother she was taken from; because her mother was an alcoholic. A father she was forced to live with, a father who was abusive and took her

  • Kevin

    Sophia Shalmiyev starts her story pining for her absent Russian mother and then pivots through other parts of her unmoored life with the spark of a poet and the fire of an immigrant riot grrrl. This isn't the tightest memoir in the world but screw tidiness; when Shalmiyev deliberately drives her story off the rails it's in the most sensational and entertaining style. The parts about her own experiences as a mother and her early years in the northwest are vivid and moving. There's also a nice sma ...more

  • Marian

    3.5 stars

    Intense emotion; a compelling, tangible rendering of a tough childhood in late-Soviet Union Leningrad; an extended meditation on the mother-child bond; elliptical, vignette-heavy structure; poetic writing. I found much of it powerful but the images/metaphors felt piled on a bit past my endurance at times and could have an alienating effect, though I admire the ambition and effort. I'm also not 100% convinced by the narrator's persona--something seemed vaguely false or lacking, not just

  • Kate

    A Gutting, Poetic and Brilliant Memoir!

    Memoirs like this affirm why Memoir is my favorite genre!

    The way Shalmiyev has constructed her life story is so alluring. How she grew up without a mother and the emptiness and longing that created to then becoming a mother herself, with reflections on her tramatic childhood and her journey of emigrating to America with her neglectful father.

    This is seriously one of the best memoirs I have ever read. It's beautiful written with intoxicating prose! It's gut

  • Hannah

    By all accounts, I should have loved this book as it ticks all my boxes; I generally enjoy memoirs written by women and those that focus a mother-daughter relationship particularly, I love memoirs that are told mostly unchronologically and academically, hell, I adored the first sentences (“Russian sentences begin backwards. When I learned English well enough to love it, I realized my inner tongue was running in the wrong direction.”) but somehow this did not translate into me getting on with the ...more

  • Kathleen Gray

    It's always hard to review a memoir because you are commenting on someone's life. In this case, I think there's a terrific story here but the method of telling it was not, at least for me. It's unconventional, to be sure, to write a memoir comprising fragments of poetry and vignettes. Oh and feminist figures. It can also be challenging for the reader to follow. Shalmiyev has written thoughtfully about the loss of and search for her mother, who was left behind in the USSR as she and her father em ...more

  • Donna Davis

    I'm crying uncle. I cannot do this. I read the first quarter of the book, which is wall-to-wall rage and violence, much of it sexual, and explicitly so. There's a tremendous amount of potential here, because Shalmiyev is a true word smith. But when a writer mines her pain and rage to create a narrative, there still needs to be pacing, and there still needs to be an arc. This memoir, which I picked up again at the 80% mark but still didn't finish, is dialed into the maximum-horror setting from th ...more