Born in Chechnya

By Olga McPhail

Literary fiction | Paperback


“Born in Chechnya” is an autobiographic novel. It depicts the ethnic contradictions during the escalation of Chechen conflict. The narrator revisits historic aspects of its roots. The novel deals with the inevitability of ethical choices made by its central characters. Sofia, a local Russian professional woman in her late thirties, divorced, with two young daughters and Mark, a British salesman, meet in the early 90s in Grozny. The capital of the former Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic of the Soviet Union is on the brink of political upheaval. Trapped in a situation of extreme danger, Sofia is writing a book in attempt to make sense of the roots of the Chechen problem. Her reflections on historical issues of Chechnya take her back to her childhood memories and the stories told to her by her grandmother.



Olga McPhail- Where does my life story begin? Perhaps from an ordinary childhood under a care of extraordinary people, the wreckage of revolutionary storm, they brought back to life an ancestral heritage, which had been already dead for my contemporaries. A place of birth is also important – the city of Grozny, a former fortress built in 1818 as a combat outpost of the Russian Empire always in the epicentre of one conflict or other. Ordinary school years with only two special moments - invasion of poetry in my ten-year-old pig-tailed head and later a wide-eyed fascination for the English language. Both resulted in my feverish activities in reading and writing. English language became my breadwinner for life. I worked as a teacher and translator until I came to live in this country in 2001, when Russian and English swapped places and I started teaching Russian instead. That is why my first and the only so far (but not long) novel is written in English. A rare advantage, which granted me a perspective on the events I was writing about.


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Olga McPhail- Where does my life story begin? Perhaps from an ordinary childhood under a care of extraordinary people, the wreckage of revolutionary storm, they brought back to life an ancestral heritage, which had been already dead for my contemporaries. A place of birth is also important – the city of Grozny, a former fortress built in 1818 as a combat outpost of the Russian Empire always in t...


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