How far will a woman go to find her child, a child she has never met? In her first novel, Siberian Daughter, Nadia Clifford fictionalizes her journey of emigrating from Moscow to Boston and returning 10 years later to her home country to adopt a daughter.
When Lana immigrated to the US, she was a wide-eyed young woman, fascinated with, but also questioning of, the American way of life, which was in stark contrast to her life in Russia.
Ten years later, happily married, living in a suburb of Boston and raising two sons, she
felt an overpowering longing for a daughter. The search brought her back to Moscow. Having heard horror stories about orphanages in Russia, Lana was determined to yank one of the abandoned little souls out of the system. But the system was a beast that was not willing to part with even its most helpless citizens without a fight.
The West and the East collide in this novel, forcing the protagonist to question her own cultural identity. As a small child, Lana grew up in a proud and powerful Soviet Union. She witnessed its slow deterioration into a maniacal and frenzied post-perestroika Russia. As an adolescent, she lived in a country drunk with hope for a new way of life. On her return as an adult, she faced a country that had changed its mask yet again. Alone in the pitiless metropolis, pitched against hardnosed post-Soviet bureaucrats, she wondered if she understood her former culture enough to break through the wall of indifference.
Was she no longer Russian? Was she American? Was she strong enough to persevere and find her daughter? Could she overcome the behavioral and emotional problems of a little girl abandoned by her birth mother, and neglected in an understaffed institution? Would her family accept the child? Would Lana herself learn to love the troubled orphan as much as her sons?
Siberian Daughter is an exploration of the complexities of navigating two cultures, the convolutions of adopting in a stringently bureaucratic culture, the juxtaposition of being a mother by birth and by adoption, and the realization of love, belonging and finding home.