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Footnote Press signs a ‘ferociously compelling’ new novel from Ukrainian-born Yelena Moskovich 

Footnote has signed Nadezhda in the Dark, Yelena Moskovich’s ‘haunting, tender and ferociously compelling’ new novel. 

Consulting Editor Candida Lacey acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Jane Finigan at Lutyens & Rubinstein. Footnote will publish Nadezhda in the Dark in September. 

Described by the publisher as ‘a vibrant, muscular genre-bending novel’, Nadezhda in the Dark is set across a single night in Berlin as decades of Russian and Ukrainian history unfold alongside a broken love affair. 

Two women sit side-by-side on the edge of a bed as night falls. Both emigrated from the Soviet Union at the age of 7, the unnamed narrator from Soviet Kharkov to Midwest America and then to Paris, and her girlfriend, Nadezhda, from Soviet Moscow to Berlin.   

A thigh shifts, fingers fold in, a shoulder is lowered. It is the longest night of the year. Neither speak. The silence between them is filled with hidden messages from Russian pop music, the raids of Moscow clubs, and the suicide of their friend Pasha. Decades resurface from the Stalin era and the solace of the Soviet poets of the Silver Age. Their small bedroom houses generations of Soviet diasporas, from the displaced indigenous people of Siberia to the Jewish refugees of the 90s and the queer Ukrainians fleeing war today.    

The requiem inside the narrator’s head, her mental fragility and her ill-fated love for Nadezhda expand within the darkness of the room, the night and the era, as she asks the all-important question: what does it mean to have hope? 

Candida Lacey says:

‘Yelena Moskovich is one of the most exciting and stylistically original writers at work today. With Ukraine in the spotlight this new novel couldn’t be more relevant. That she is able to combine so many emotions and cultures and regimes into prose of such luminosity is extraordinary. The beauty and the sadness of her language is visceral. I’ve been a fan for years so I’m thrilled and very excited to have this opportunity to publish Nadezhda in the Dark – it is a bold and brilliant evocation of female friendship, queer relationships and a broken society. Like The Waste Land for our times, it is a forceful, dark and unexpectedly erotic anthem for doomed youth.’ 

Yelena Moskovich is a Ukrainian-born author of three novels, A Door Behind A Door (long-listed for the Dylan Thomas Prize), Virtuoso and The Natashas. She emigrated to the US with her family as Jewish refugees in 1991, then again on her own to Paris in 2007 where she studied theatre and philosophy. Her plays and performances have been produced in the US, Canada, France and Sweden. Her writing has appeared in publications including Vogue, Frieze, The Times Literary Supplement, Paris Review, Apartamento and Fantastic Man. She was curator and exhibiting artist for the 2018 Los Angeles Queer Biennial, and she has taught creative writing at the University of Kent’s ParisSchool of Arts & Culture.