10/21 Mary Kay Zuravleff

Award-winning author Mary Kay Zuravleff comes to Riverstone with her historical novel American Ending, set in Pennsylvania's coal country

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American Ending, is a gritty and darkly humorous novel inspired by Mary Kay Zuravleff's family's saga and the fact that she could not find her Appalachian coal mining ancestors—immigrants of the Old Believer Russian Orthodox faith—on any bookshelf. How long does it take to write a book? This one has been in the works ever since her mother named her for her two grandmothers: Mary, who married her Russian-born husband at fourteen and had eleven children, and Kay, who forced the mining company to pay in cash rather than scrip and then got her husband away from the mines before black lung killed him.

Yelena is the first American born to her Old Believer Russian Orthodox parents, who are building a life in a Pennsylvania Appalachian town. This town, in the first decades of the 20th century, is filled with Russian transplants and a new church with a dome. Here, boys quit grade school for the coal mines and girls are married off at fourteen. The young pair up, give birth to more babies than they can feed, and make shaky starts in their new world. However, Yelena craves a different path. Will she find her happy American ending or will a dreaded Russian ending be her fate?

In this immersive novel, Zuravleff weaves Russian fairy tales and fables into a family saga within the storied American landscape. The challenges facing immigrants--and the fragility of citizenship--are just as unsettling and surprising today as they were 100 years ago. American Ending is a poignant reminder that everything that is happening in America has already happened.

Mary Kay is the author of Man Alive!, a Washington Post Notable Book, as well as The Bowl Is Already Broken and The Frequency of Souls. She is the winner of the American Academy's Rosenthal Award and a multiple recipient of the DC Artist Fellowship. Born in Syracuse, raised in Oklahoma City, and educated in Houston and Baltimore, she lives in Washington, DC.

American Ending By Mary Kay Zuravleff Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9781949467994
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Blair - June 6th, 2023

An Oprah Daily pick for spring 2023David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction FinalistA woman growing up in a family of Russian immigrants in the 1910s seeks a thoroughly American life.

Yelena is the first American born to her Old Believer Russian Orthodox parents, who are building a life in a Pennsylvania Appalachian town.