Vita Nostra
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Vita Nostra

4.11 (4,812 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

"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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 416 pages
  • 160 x 236 x 33mm | 544g
  • English
  • Translation
  • 0062694596
  • 9780062694591
  • 2,466,200

Back cover copy

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

Our life is brief . . .

While vacationing at the beach with her mother, Sasha Samokhina meets the mysterious Farit Kozhennikov under the most peculiar circumstances. The teenage girl is powerless to refuse when this strange and unusual man with an air of the sinister directs her to perform a task with potentially scandalous consequences. He rewards her effort with a strange golden coin.

As the days progress, Sasha carries out other acts for which she receives more coins from Kozhennikov. As summer ends, her domineering mentor directs her to move to a remote village and use her gold to enter the Institute of Special Technologies. Though she does not want to go to this unknown town or school, she also feels it's the only place she should be. Against her mother's wishes, Sasha leaves behind all that is familiar and begins her education.

As she quickly discovers, the institute's "special technologies" are unlike anything she has ever encountered. The books are impossible to read, the lessons are 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 directly for their transgressions and failures; instead, their families pay a terrible price. Yet despite her fear, Sasha undergoes changes that defy the dictates of matter and time--experiences which are like 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.
show more

Review quote

"Amazing book. Dark Harry Potter on steroids with a hefty dose of metaphysics."--Aliette de Bodard, award-winning author of The Tea Master and the Detective
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Rating details

4,812 ratings
4.11 out of 5 stars
5 42% (2,038)
4 35% (1,666)
3 16% (791)
2 5% (239)
1 2% (78)
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