The Invention of Exile

Pages: 304
Subject: Fiction
Imprint: Oneworld

The Invention of Exile

Vanessa Manko

'An achingly immediate, sensuous and psychologically acute novel about a man whose life has been suspended by the madness of American politics' - Siri Hustvedt

The Book

Bridgeport, Connecticut: 1913.

Austin Voronkov is a Russian immigrant working in a factory. When he falls in love with Julia - the daughter of his landlady - the American Dream feels within reach. But after he is wrongly accused of attending an anarchist gathering and is deported, that dream becomes a nightmare.

Spanning four decades and three continents, The Invention of Exile is the story of an epic love that is tested over and over again,but never broken. Stuck in a strange land, separated fromhis family and unable to see his children grow up, Austin becomesa pawn in the cat-and-mouse game of political antagonism betweenthe United States and the new Soviet Union. But with steadfastcourage and unwavering devotion, Julia finds a way to keeptheir love alive.

Additional Information

Subject Fiction
Pages 304
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Vanessa Manko earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Hunter College where she received a Hertog Fellowship. She earned a BA in English Literature from the University of Connecticut and an MA from the New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


‘moving… evokes exile’s restless rhythms’ 

- Independent on Sunday

'[An] assured debut...Manko paints a complicated and richly human portrait of the specific loss and separation that borders impose - a timeless subject that resonates with particular relevance in the contemporary moment.'


- San Francisco Chronicle

‘An eventful story' 

- The Mail on Sunday

‘Manko… writes beautifully about the pain of exile and the longing for home' 

- The Times

‘Manko's prose and pacing are remarkably assured, rapid when traversing oceans and decades, unbearably tense when Voronkov attempts to re-enter America… With these indelible pages, Manko does her ancestors proud.'

- Independent

'‘Heart-rending and powerful… Manko's intricate descriptions of settings move effortlessly between each country. She has the ability to create magnificent spaces… The minutiae of human existence, both through sensual experience and interior mental processes, are written with ease. I became totally immersed' 8/10

- Curious Animal

‘Vanessa Manko's fantastically ambitious and rewarding novel, The Invention of Exile, lovingly and carefully details the terrible but wondrous twinning of one man's fate with Russian, Mexican and American history.'

- Rivka Galchen

‘Vanessa Manko is a voice for the years to come.'

- Colum McCann

‘An achingly immediate, sensuous and psychologically acute novel about a man whose life has been suspended by the madness of American politics.'

- Siri Hustvedt

‘A brilliant debut. I commend it to you all.'

- Salman Rushdie