A Country You Can Leave
by Asale Angel-Ajani
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Pub Date 21 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 31 Mar 2023
“From page one, A Country You Can Leave is a riveting, exasperating, and deeply heartbreaking tale of mother-daughter strife and resilience.” —Xochitl Gonzalez, author of Olga Dies Dreaming
A stunning debut novel following the turbulent relationship of a Black biracial teen and her ferocious Russian mother, struggling to survive in the California desert.
When sixteen-year-old Lara and her fiery mother, Yevgenia, find themselves homeless again, the misnamed Oasis Mobile Estates is all they can afford. In this new community, where residents are down on their luck but rich in humor and escape plans, Lara navigates what it means to be the Black biracial daughter of a Russian mother and begins to wonder what a life beyond Yevgenia’s orbit—with her insistence on reading only the right kind of books (Russian) and having the right kind of relationships (casual, with lots of sex)—might look like.
Lara knows that something else lies beneath her mother’s fierce, independent spirit, but Yevgenia doesn’t believe in sharing, least of all with her daughter. When a brutal attack exposes the cracks in their relationship, Lara and Yevgenia are forced to confront the family legacy of violence and the strain of inherited trauma on the bonds of their love.
A Country You Can Leave is a dazzling, sharp-witted story suffused with yearning, as Lara and Yevgenia attempt to forge their own identities and thrive in a hostile land. Compelling and empathetic, wry and intimate, Asale Angel-Ajani’s unforgettable debut novel examines the beauty and dangers of womanhood in multiracial America.
"Refined and raw, cosmopolitan and claustrophobic, A Country You Can Leave is a novel of contrasts, built around a mother and daughter who see themselves as nothing alike. Asale Angel-Ajani portrays the complexity of the whole world through this one core relationship. Her debut is as loving as it is demanding, as vulnerable as it is merciless, and its complications will break your heart." —Julia Phillips , author of Disappearing Earth