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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Big Book Award, the Yasnaya Polyana Award and The Best Prose Work of the Year Award

Soviet Russia, 1930. Zuleikha, the “pitiful hen,” lives with her brutal husband Murtaza and her mother-in-law in a small Tartar village. When Murtaza is executed by communist soldiers, she is sent into exile to a remote region on the Angara River in Siberia. Hundreds die of hunger and exhaustion on the journey and over the first difficult winter, yet exile is the making of Zuleikha. 

As she gets to know her fellow survivors - among them an eccentric German doctor, a painter, and the conscience-stricken Commander Ignatov, her husband’s killer - Zuleikha begins to build a new life far removed from the one she left behind. 

Guzel Yakhina’s outstanding debut - inspired by her grandmother's childhood memories of being exiled to the Gulag - has been translated into twenty-one languages, capturing the hearts of listeners all over the world.

©2015, 2019 Guzel Yakhina, Translation © 2019 by Lisa C. Hayden. (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Featured Article: Essential Russian Authors to Know in Audio


Don’t be daunted by the towering reputations of Russia’s literary giants. Listening is the perfect way to appreciate the masters. Russia is a sprawling country with a rich and complex history, which is reflected in its literature. Whether you’re keen on brushing up on classic Russian literature or you want to find a new author to explore, we’ve rounded up 13 of the best Russian authors, classic and contemporary, whose work you should know.

What listeners say about Zuleikha

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Aweful

Aside from the squeaky annoying voice, the reader tries to imitate a Russian or foreign accents with disastrous results. Not only does it sound vulgar, but it must be terribly insulting to the speakers of Russian. The book has been translated into English. Why butcher the dialogue. I had to stop listening to it after 30 min. Annoying and disappointing.

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  • Maria Sotiriu-Uttley
  • 02-07-21

Disappointed

It had all possibilities for an excellent story. Poorly narrated, trying imitating accents is rather annoying. I persevered to the end. The story was good, plot was good but overall I found it disappointing....