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THE WHITE AGAINST THE BACKDROP OF THE BLACK FOREST

Elena Taycher

  • Original Title: THE WHITE AGAINST THE BACKDROP OF THE BLACK FOREST
  • Publication date: April 2018
  • Publisher: VREMYA
  • Country: RU
  • 190 print pages
  • Drama

Information

  • Epoch: Contemporary
  • Time Period: 21th century
  • Location setting: Russia
  • Themes: FAMILY, Dysfunctional family, Childhood, PEOPLE facing life, Redemption, Life change, CHARACTERS, Child, Adoption, Death, Moral dilemma, Resilience, PEOPLE facing the extraordinary, Psychological dysfunction, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Commitment

Pitch

Real-life cases of orphan children in Russia and the recent inhumane adoption ban inspired Elena Taycher to write this heart-wrenching drama of child abandonment turn blockbuster-style kidnapping story.

Comments

Longlisted for the National Bestseller Award 2019.

Elena Taycher is a Russian writer and a doctor. Since 2000 she has had her short stories and novellas published in magazines and literary journals in Israel, Germany, the US, and Russia. Her first novel, THE REBINDER EFFECT, was nominated in 2014 for several major literary awards, and long-listed for the Russian Booker Prize and the Yasnaya Poliana (Leo Tolstoy) Prize.

Summary

For months three youngsters – Vasya (7), Katya (3,5) and Martik (7 months old) – lived alone at home, abandoned by their flighty alcoholic mother, left without money or food supplies, no one from the neighbourhood noticing or caring to intervene. Vasya becomes the man of the house and manages their household and his two siblings with scarce to none resources. One day the house accidentally takes on fire, Vasya barely manages to save the siblings and they watch the house burning down with their mother inside.
The children take a bus to a different city where they give themselves in to police under a fictional family name that Vasya chooses – the Grossmans. As the children were considered to have died in the fire accident, no missing reports have been put on record, and the siblings end up in an orphanage.
An orthodox American Jewish family adopts the baby boy as soon as they know that the new baby’s name is Mark Grossman (the orphanage authorities adapted the boy’s name from an untypical Martik); while both Vasya and his sister get selected for an Israeli orphanage transfer program. In Israel Vasya develops his spectacular artistic talents and finds a true friend and love. Katya, too, gets over severe health and psychological problems she has been suffering from as a result of the childhood traumas. Yet a terrible secret has been gnawing the teenager who refuses happiness for himself – something that haunts the boy since the day of the fire accident, something that Vasya did to his mother, something that makes him believe he is a murderer.
When Vasya comes of age and is prepared to set off for an independent living, he learns about a disabled child from their former Russian orphanage who has been refused for adoption by an American family through The Dima Yakovlev Act. In the States the kid could receive a medical treatment to recover, which the Russian orphanage cannot provide, predetermining the child’s disability for life. Together with the adopting parents, Vasya and Katya come up with a reckless kidnapping plan, because they cannot possibly leave a child abandoned.

go further

  • Author’s biography

    Elena Taycher is a Russian writer. After graduating from the First Moscow State Medical University she worked as a doctor in the cardiac department of a Moscow hospital. In 1991 Elena Minkina-Taycher moved to Israel, where she received another degree and began working as a doctor in her own private clinic. Since 2000 she has had her short stories and novellas published in magazines and literary journals in Israel, Germany, the US, and Russia. Elena is the author of four books of prose. THE REBINDER EFFECT was her first novel. It was nominated in 2014 for several major literary awards, and long-listed for the Russian Booker Prize and the Yasnaya Poliana (Leo Tolstoy) Prize.