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.
‘moving… evokes exile’s restless rhythms’
'[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.'
‘An eventful story'
‘Manko… writes beautifully about the pain of exile and the longing for home'
‘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.'
'‘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
‘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.'
‘Vanessa Manko is a voice for the years to come.'
‘An achingly immediate, sensuous and psychologically acute novel about a man whose life has been suspended by the madness of American politics.'
‘A brilliant debut. I commend it to you all.'