cover image of the book Alindarka’s Children

Bacharevic’s rich, provocative novel offers a kaleidoscopic picture of language as fairy-tale forest, as Gulag, as monument, as tomb, as everlasting life."

The New York Times

Alindarka’s Children is the masterful English debut of Alhierd Bacharevič, a new voice from Belarus

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Alindarka’s Children

Fictionby Alhierd Bacharevič

Translated from Belarusian by Petra Reid and Jim Dingley

It’s not Avi’s fault, it’s those sourish, mind-bending little berries that are to blame, those tiny wee spheres. Bilberries, bletherberries that befuddle the mind, babbleberries that give you a kick. The beautiful green forest scales, the timber songs, play out like a kaleidoscope before his eyes. It’s hard tae breathe, yer haunds skedaddle awa…

In a camp at the edge of a forest children are trained to forget their language through drugs, therapy, and coercion. Alicia and her brother Avi are rescued by their father, but they give him the slip and set out on their own. In the forest they encounter a cast of villains: the hovel-dwelling Granmaw, the language-traitor McFinnie, the border guard and murderer Bannock the Bogill, and a wolf.

A manifesto for the survival of the Belarusian language and soul, Alindarka’s Children is also a feat of translation. Winner of the English Pen Award, the novel has been brilliantly rendered into English (from the Russian) and Scots (from the Belarusian): both Belarusian and Scots are on the UNESCO Atlas of Endangered Languages.

Paperback(published June 21, 2022)

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Portrait of Alhierd Bacharevič

Alhierd Bacharevič

Belarusian writer

Bacharevic’s rich, provocative novel offers a kaleidoscopic picture of language as fairy-tale forest, as Gulag, as monument, as tomb, as everlasting life."

The New York Times

The novel is both brutally realistic and fantastically dire—Ágota Kristóf meets the Brothers Grimm…Jim Dingley and Petra Reid made an innovative decision: They translated the Russian sections of the novel into English, and the Belarusian sections into Scots…The result is an amphibian text where the two languages, as they mingle in the characters’ minds, whirl in the readers’—an effect close to a fever dream of the best kind.”

Yiyun Li, Jewish Currents

Largely a meditation on what makes a language worth holding onto… Alindarka’s Children shifts lyrically between two languages, Belarusian and Russian, translated respectively and brilliantly into Scots and English. Readers will be stirred by Bacharevič’s ardent, earnest devotion.

Publishers Weekly

Bacharevič’s novel blends the magic and darkness of a fairy tale with what is implicitly a manifesto on language and national identity.

Kirkus Reviews

You can take this book on many levels, from the philosophical and psychological analysis of what it does to a nation and a people to remove, control and suppress its mother tongue, to an exciting tale of two runaway children.

The Scotsman

Kafkaesque and with elements of cyberpunk. Alhierd Bacharevič is the foremost figure of today’s Belarusian literature.

New Eastern Europe

A dark fantasy by one of Belarus’s most original contemporary writers. It captures the depths of frustration, grief, and resolve building up for decades under the deceptively placid surface of Belarusian life. Both a translation and a collage—an independent, multilingual literary work.

Jaroslaw Anders, New York Review of Books