New Release

"Expulsion & Other Stories"

Guernica Editions, Fall 2015



A solitary figure crossing the courtyard at night inching towards a manhole… this is how Moscow looked like in the 50s of the past century.  I thought this photograph to be appropriate for the cover of my new collection of short stories, quite a few of which are  “inhabited” by protagonists born around that time, with a long shadow of Stalin still hovering over their lives.


When I began writing this book the grey monolith of the Soviet civilisation, with its language, its signs and symbols seemed to be gone forever: the hammer and sickle eagerly replaced by a two-headed eagle; streets and cities jumping back to their original, pre-revolutionary names. When I finished the book, the history went in reverse, with the KGB operative firmly leading the country to a new abyss. What is it in human psyche that makes such disastrous detours possible? Looking for an answer I wanted to examine the lives of people who were neither heroes nor villains. Among them I found cads and cowards, bureaucrats and secret sadists against whose grim moral backgrounds the small acts of kindness and grace and mercy shine with a brighter, more treasured light.


For the sake of this light I wrote my stories.


Guernica Editions, Fall 2015

260 pages

ISBN 9781550719451

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Dr. Marina Sonkina is a scholar, a public speaker and a fiction writer who speaks and writes in several languages. A former Professor of Russian Literature at the Moscow State University, she lived in Toronto, and in Montreal where she worked as a CBC producer and broadcaster. Now living in Vancouver, she divides her time between teaching literature, creative writing and history of ideas courses at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia, and writing. She regularly takes her students - from UBC and SFU - to field trips to the former Soviet Union.

Sonkina’s books include Expulsion and other stories, Comrade Stalin’s Baby Tooth, Lucia’s Eyes and Other Stories; Runic Alphabet; Tractorina’s Travels; and books for children:  The Wandering Violin; Snail Gail and the Stone Man

"Staff Pick" in spring 2016 edition of BC Bookworld


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Copyright © 2015 Marina Sonkina. All rights reserved.