A rich, immersive debut novel, inspired by true events, about a meeting between two women in 1970s Soviet Russia–a deeply religious homesteader living in isolation with her family on the Siberian taiga and an ambitious scientist–that irrevocably changes the course of both of their lives.
Galina, a promising young geologist from Moscow, is falling in love with her pilot, Snow Crane, on a trip exploring for minerals in Siberia. As their helicopter hovers over what should be a stretch of uninhabited forest, they see a small hut and a garden–and, the following day, when they hike from their field camp to the hut, they find a family.
Agafia was born in Siberia into a family of Old Believers, a small sect of Christians who rejected the reforms that shaped the modern Russian Orthodox church. Her parents fled religious persecution four decades earlier, hiking deep into the snowy wilderness and eventually building a home far away from the dangerous and sinful world. Galina and Snow Crane are the first people she has ever met outside of her immediate family. As the two women develop a friendship, each becomes conflicted about futures that once seemed certain–and each is hindered by the immovable forces shaping their lives: Galina can’t shake the confines of her Soviet upbringing, and Agafia’s focus drifts from her faith to the beauty of the relentlessly harsh taiga. Even worse, Galina begins to see her work opening mines as a threat to Agafia and her home, mirroring the exploitation of the natural world happening all across the Soviet Union.
A vivid and eye-opening story about fate, ambition, and Soviet politics, Lost Believers
is an unforgettable journey.