Vita Nostra
Marina Dyachenko and Sergey Dyachenko, Translated by Julia Meitov Hersey, Read by Jessica Ball

Book cover image

Narrated By: Jessica Ball

Duration: 18 hours and 22 minutes

What to expect

The definitive English language translation of the internationally bestselling Russian novel – a brilliant dark fantasy combining psychological suspense, enchantment, and terror that makes us consider human existence in a fresh and provocative way.

‘A book that has the potential to become a modern classic.’ – Lev Grossman, bestselling author of The Magicians

Our life is brief . . .

Sasha Samokhina has just met Farit Kozhenikov and her life will never be the same again.

Whilst on holiday, Sasha is asked by the mysterious Farit to undertake a strange task for him. Reluctantly, she obliges, and is rewarded with a shining golden coin. The more tasks she performs, the more coins Sasha receives until Farit instructs her – against the wishes of her family – to travel to a remote village and use her gold to gain entrance to the Institute of Special Technologies.

Sasha quickly discovers this is no ordinary school. The books are impossible to read, the lessons obscure to the point of maddening, and the knowledge itself refuses to be remembered. Despite this, Sasha undergoes changes that defy matter and time; with experiences that are nothing like what she could have dreamed of before… but which are suddenly all she could ever want.

But this learning comes at a cost. The school uses terror and coercion to keep students in line: should they transgress at all, their families pay a terrible price…

A complex blend of adventure, magic, science, and philosophy, expressed through a distinctly Russian voice, this astonishing story will transport the reader to a place far beyond imagining.

Genre

Modern & contemporary fiction, Fantasy

Listen to a sample

‘A dazzling display of Russian magical realism’
Daily Mail

‘I first encountered VITA NOSTRA in 2009, and then, as now, I was stunned by what I read – not just by the story, which was a revelation to me in itself, but also by the vividness and fluency and power of Hersey's translation. 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, New York Times bestselling author of THE MAGICIANS