Vita Nostra : A Novel
by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko
“Vita Nostra” — a cross between Lev Grossman’s “The Magicians” and Elizabeth Kostova’s “The Historian” [...] is the anti-Harry Potter you didn’t know you wanted.” -- The Washington Post “Vita Nostra has become a powerful influence on my own writing. It’s a book that has the potential to become a modern classic of its genre, and I couldn’t be more excited to see it get the global audience in English it so richly deserves.” -- Lev Grossman Best Books of November 2018 -- Paste Magazine The definitive English language translation of the internationally acclaimed Russian novel—a brilliant dark fantasy combining psychological suspense, enchantment, and terror that makes us consider human existence in a fresh and provocative way. Our life is brief . . . Sasha Samokhina has been accepted to the Institute of Special Technologies. Or, more precisely, she’s been chosen. Situated in a tiny village, she finds the students are bizarre, and the curriculum even more so. The books are impossible to read, the lessons obscure to the point of maddening, and the work refuses memorization. Using terror and coercion to keep the students in line, the school does not punish them for their transgressions and failures; instead, it is their families that pay a terrible price. Yet despite her fear, Sasha undergoes changes that defy the dictates of matter and time; experiences which are nothing she has ever dreamed of . . . and suddenly all she could ever want. A complex blend of adventure, magic, science, and philosophy that probes the mysteries of existence, filtered through a distinct Russian sensibility, this astonishing work of speculative fiction—brilliantly translated by Julia Meitov Hersey—is reminiscent of modern classics such as Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, Max Barry’s Lexicon, and Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale, but will transport them to a place far beyond those fantastical worlds.