The Rooster House by Victoria Belim

The Rooster House by Victoria Belim – My Ukrainian Family Story, A Memoir – is such a wonderful book. It is a memoir written by an Ukrainian who lived most of her life in US and Belgium. She went back to Ukraine to search her family’s history and gives a colourful and interesting account of life in Ukraine’s villages. All the story happens before the full-scale invasion and it is mostly based in life in rural Ukraine.

The Rooster House by Victoria Belim

The Rooster House is an elegant mansion with two voluptuous red roosters flanking the door in Poltava, a small city. It was the base of KGB during the communist era and its predecessors. So, after 2014, Victoria goes to Ukraine to visit her grandmother Valentina. Her grandmother lives in Bereh, which is a hamlet near Poltava.

Victoria spends her time helping her grandmother in the garden, interacting with the other people in the village. She also does some research regarding her relatives, some of whom are long dead. Nikodim disappeared in the 1930s and she looks for him, her uncle. It takes her years to discover the truth, mainly because she is getting so involved in the village life and her grandmother is not happy to talk about the past in the beginning. She also thinks about her father and his family, and that is a complicated story on its own.

The book offers so many things, from a glimpse into the everyday life of Ukrainians living in a village somewhere in Ukraine to deeper meaning of what nationality means for them, and language, and family ties. It is a beautifully written book that I highly recommend reading. I enjoyed it even if her views, at times, differ greatly from my own. Her description of the family ties and of the places she went to are nicely presented. Do read the book if you get the chance, it’s all about family and the past.

The Rooster House by Victoria Belim

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes!
Published by: Virago
Year it was published: 2022
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): Memoir
Pages: 286

About the author: Victoria Belim was born in Ukraine and grew up in Chicago. She now lives in Brussels, Belgium. She is a writer, journalist, translator, and fragrance specialist. Since 2010, Belim has been writing for the Financial Times’s HTSI magazine. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Elle, and Marie Claire, and on her own website.
Website & Social Media Links: boisdejasmin

2 thoughts on “The Rooster House by Victoria Belim”

    • She is not going into details about what happened after the full-scale invasion and that region was not greatly affected by the war, as Poltava is a bit south of Kyiv and the russians retreated quickly from that part of Ukraine. There are only a few pages on the war.
      The story focuses on the past and their preservation of lifestyle specific to Ukrainian villages, which are now inhabited by the elderly. I think this book is interesting because it is focused on traditions and relationships and the past. It is a very interesting memoir, but not related to the present-day war.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.