‘Eat, Pray, Love’ author publishes new book set in Russia

Key Point
  • Six days after announcing the launch of her new book, Elizabeth Gilbert said she had decided to stop publishing.
  • “Snow Forest” was supposed to be set in Siberia, Russia.
  • Some Ukrainians have expressed disappointment that the book is set in Russia.
Best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert’s decision not to publish her latest book set in Russia has been “a blow to the bone” for at least one Australian author.

Melbourne-based author Lee Coffman has a somewhat unique take on Elizabeth Gilbert’s decision not to publish her latest novel on schedule, citing the reaction she received from some Ukrainian readers.

Lee Coffman was born in Siberia, Russia, the setting for Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel Snow Forest. Coffman has a Russian-Jewish mother and a Ukrainian-Jewish father, and lived in both Russia and Ukraine during her childhood. sauce: Supplied

Coffman, a Russian, Ukrainian, Israeli and Australian author with eight books, said Gilbert’s decision to stop publishing the book set a precedent that would lead to a “slippery slope.”

snow forest

Gilbert, best known for her 2006 memoir Eat Pray Love, which sold over 12 million copies on June 6, will release a new book titled Snow Forest in February 2024. said to be published.
Written in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the story is about isolation, about a family she once read about living in the Siberian wilderness in isolation for half a century. is based on
This book follows a series of other bookswas the story of a girl born in that world.
“Please buy it,” Gilbert said in a social media post, showing the cover of the book.
However, in another post on June 12th, she said that those who pre-ordered the book will be refunded because the book will not be published on time.

In the video, Gilbert explained the reasons for the decision and said he would turn his attention to working on other projects.

“Anger, sadness” from a Ukrainian reader

Gilbert said “Snow Forest” is about “a group of individuals determined to withdraw from society, resist government, and protect nature from industrialization.”
The story is set in Siberia, Russia in the 1930s.

What prompted Gilbert to reconsider publishing the book was the reaction he received from the Ukrainian people to the book’s setting.

Screenshot of a tweet that read,

Some of the feedback Elizabeth Gilbert received after announcing the upcoming release of her book The Snow Forrest. credit: Alisha Orr

“We have received a huge amount of responses from Ukrainian readers expressing their anger, sadness, disappointment and distress over the fact that they have chosen to put any book into the world now, whatever the subject matter. It’s set in Russia,” she said in a video posted to her Instagram page less than a week after announcing the book’s release.

Russian forces have been fighting Ukrainian forces since President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, amid heavy fighting that included missile attacks in parts of the country.

“I have heard these messages, I have read these messages and I respect them. As a result, I am correcting my course and removing this book from my publication schedule. Now is not the time to publish this book. said Gilbert.

She said she made the decision because she didn’t want to cause more harm to people who had already experienced, and continue to experience, “horrible and extreme harm.”
Those who commented on the social media post questioned whether it was “necessary” to promote and launch a book based on Russia as Russia continues to escalate fighting in Ukraine.

Some commented on Elizabeth Gilbert’s announcement of her new book, saying she thought the publication was “insensitive”.

‘Slippery slope’

Born in Siberia to a Russian mother and a Ukrainian father, Coffman spent part of her adolescence in both Russia and Ukraine.
“Of course, I am very much against the war. I spent my formative years there, and the war has had a profound effect on me since it began, and we still maintain personal ties with the Ukrainian people. I’m very into this thing because I have it,” she said.

“The massacre was terrible, but I am disappointed that Elizabeth Gilbert has retracted her book,” Coffman said.

“As far as I know, Gilbert’s novel was neither political nor pro-Putin. It feels wrong to me that literary works are judged by what is happening in the world today and current affairs,” she said.
Coffman said Gilbert’s decision not to publish as planned was “as if we should be doing the same to writers like her who are less powerful, less earning, less well-known, less well-known than her.” “I’m afraid it will set a precedent,” he said.
“She could afford to do this, but it would create a kind of precedent, and people would say, oh, look, we’re doing well with Elizabeth Gilbert, no cause for the next writer.” I will say take it.”
“Artists cannot function this way in society. We put undue pressure on them to conform to what is happening today. It’s about creating something that lasts for a century or so and is still relevant,” she said.

“I feel it’s a very slippery slope.”

Coffman said that not publishing a book simply because of the setting would be taking a black-and-white approach to literature and “destroying the complexity” that makes a novel what it is. rice field.
“I think what we’re doing now is kind of stripping literature of its nuance and complexity,” she says.
“In fact, a few months ago I was asked to write an article about my writing practice.
“I wrote about how I grew up in Russia, how it kind of shaped my worldview as a writer, and the magazines I wrote for, and they pay me for the articles, but I decided not to post it.”

She said she was told, “This is not the time to write about Russia in a semi-positive or slightly nostalgic way.”

mixed reaction

The decision to cancel Gilbert’s book has been met with mixed reactions online, with some on Twitter calling it an overreaction, but Ukrainians described it as a “compassionate” and “kind decision”. I admire her sensibility,” he replied. . ”

But some Russians like to read stories set in their homeland.
Irina Thomson is Russian-Australian and would like to publish Snow Forest.
She moved to Australia with her husband in the 1990s.
Thomson, who has lived here for the past 25 years, remembers the story of a family who lived in the wilds of Siberia, cut off from the rest of the world.
“this [is a] It’s a famous story with a Russian,” she said.
Perth resident Thomson told SBS News he doesn’t understand why a book set in Russia is enough to be taken out of print.

“The real story has nothing to do with Ukrainians,” she said.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/eat-pray-love-author-pulls-book-citing-timing-this-author-says-the-decision-feels-wrong/de83v4quc ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ author publishes new book set in Russia

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