Harper Academic

Vita Nostra

A Novel

by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko

On Sale: 11/13/2018

Price: $26.99

Vita Nostra

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Vita Nostra

A Novel

by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko

On Sale: 11/13/2018

Format:

Price: $26.99

About the Book

“Vita Nostra” — a cross between Lev Grossman’s “The Magicians” and Elizabeth Kostova’s “The Historian” [...] is the anti-Harry Potter you didn’t know you wanted.” -- The Washington Post

An Amazon "Best of the Month" (November 2018)!

The definitive English language translation of the internationally bestselling Russian novel—a brilliant dark fantasy with "the potential to be a modern classic" (Lev Grossman), combining psychological suspense, enchantment, and terror that makes us consider human existence in a fresh and provocative way.

Our life is brief . . .

While vacationing at the beach with her mother, Sasha Samokhina meets the mysterious Farit Kozhennikov under the most peculiar circumstances. The teenage girl is powerless to refuse when this strange and unusual man with an air of the sinister directs her to perform a task with potentially scandalous consequences. He rewards her effort with a strange golden coin.

As the days progress, Sasha carries out other acts for which she receives more coins from Kozhennikov. As summer ends, her domineering mentor directs her to move to a remote village and use her gold to enter the Institute of Special Technologies. Though she does not want to go to this unknown town or school, she also feels it’s the only place she should be. Against her mother’s wishes, Sasha leaves behind all that is familiar and begins her education.

As she quickly discovers, the institute’s "special technologies" are unlike anything she has ever encountered. The books are impossible to read, the lessons obscure to the point of maddening, and the work refuses memorization. Using terror and coercion to keep the students in line, the school does not punish them for their transgressions and failures; instead, their families pay a terrible price. Yet despite her fear, Sasha undergoes changes that defy the dictates of matter and time; experiences which are nothing she has ever dreamed of . . . and suddenly all she could ever want.

A complex blend of adventure, magic, science, and philosophy that probes the mysteries of existence, filtered through a distinct Russian sensibility, this astonishing work of speculative fiction—brilliantly translated by Julia Meitov Hersey—is reminiscent of modern classics such as Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, Max Barry’s Lexicon, and Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale, but will transport them to a place far beyond those fantastical worlds.

Critical Praise

“Vita Nostra” — a cross between Lev Grossman’s “The Magicians” and Elizabeth Kostova’s “The Historian” [...] is the anti-Harry Potter you didn’t know you wanted.” - Washington Post

Vita Nostra has become a powerful influence on my own writing. It’s a book that has the potential to become a modern classic of its genre, and I couldn’t be more excited to see it get the global audience in English it so richly deserves.” - Lev Grossman, New York Times bestselling author of The Magicians

Vita Nostra is utterly fascinating. It’s like a drug; the more you read, the more you have to read. A unique premise, mind-blowing magic system, and spellbinding conclusion makes this one of the best reads of the year.” - Charlie Holmberg, bestselling author of The Paper Magician

“[Vita Nostra] takes the trope of young people selected for a school for magic and transforms it into an unnerving, deeply philosophical coming-of-age tale. [...] Hersey’s translation is plain and straightforward, a wise choice that enhances the deep strangeness of this trippy, vivid novel.” - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“This dark, ambitious, and intellectually strenuous novel will feel like a fresh revelation to fantasy readers glutted with Western wish-fulfillment narratives.” - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Amazing book. Dark Harry Potter on steroids with a hefty dose of metaphysics.” - Aliette de Bodard, award-winning author of The Tea Master and the Detective

“Imagine that Hogwarts has opened a satellite campus inside Harry Haller’s Magic Theater from Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse, and assigned Kafka, Dostoevsky and Rod Serling to oversee the curriculum.” - BookPage

“Dark and foreboding, this fantasy, translated from Russian, is more of philosophical treatise on growing up and the nature of reality than an adventure tale. Readers willing to challenge themselves and slowly digest this deep book will enjoy it immensely.” - Booklist

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062694591
  • ISBN 10: 0062694596
  • Imprint: Harper Voyager
  • On Sale: 11/13/2018
  • Trimsize: 6.000 in (w) x 9.000 in (h) x 1.290 in (d)
  • Pages: 416
  • List Price: $26.99
  • BISAC1 : FICTION / Fantasy / Dark Fantasy
  • BISAC2 : FICTION / Literary
  • BISAC3 : FICTION / Magical Realism