Natalka Babina

Natalka Babina (Наталка Бабіна) was born in 1966 in Zakazanka, a small village in Belarus located in the southwestern part of the country, near Polish and Ukrainian borders. She grew up surrounded by a mixture Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Polish cultural traditions, she spoke a dialect of Ukrainian at home, but today she writes primarily in Belarusian.

An engineer by education, Babina works as a journalist at Nasa Niva, an an independent Belarusian newspaper, writing on cultural topics. She is the author of two books, a collection of stories Крыві не павідна быць відна (Kryvi nje pavidna byc vidna) and a novel Рыбін горад (Rybin gorad).

An exciting novel from Belarus: a crime story with elements of magical realism.

Dobratycze, a small village on the Bug river near the Belarus-Poland border, is suddenly shaken out of tranquility by news of grandma Makrynia's death. Who and why poisoned the village's oldest inhabitant? Was it true what people whispered about grandma Markrynia -- that she was a witch? And if she was, would her powers enable her to take revenge on her murderers and protect the village even after her death?

A stunning depiction of modern Belarus in all its diversity: private businesses, big money, people browsing the internet in houses with straw roofs, a crucible of different languages, cultures and religions, a local self-consciousness that reaches back to the times of the Union of Brest. In Babina's skillful prose Belarus comes alive like never before and readers are allowed a glimpse beyond the simplistic stereotypes that would paint the country as a boring piece of flat land in a forgotten corner of Europe, crushed under Alexander Lukashenko's authoritarian rule.

Nasha Niva | 2007 More »