Nora Ikstena

Soviet Milk

The literary bestseller that took the Baltics by storm now published for the first time in English.
This novel considers the effects of Soviet rule on a single individual. The central character in the story tries to follow her calling as a doctor. But then the state steps in. She is deprived first of her professional future, then of her identity and finally of her relationship with her daughter. Banished to a village in the Latvian countryside, her sense of isolation increases. Will she and her daughter be able to return to Riga when political change begins to stir?
Why Peirene chose to publish this book:
At first glance this novel depicts a troubled mother-daughter relationship set in the the Soviet-ruled Baltics between 1969 and 1989. Yet just beneath the surface lies something far more positive: the story of three generations of women, and the importance of a grandmother giving her granddaughter what her daughter is unable to provide — love, and the desire for life.
'Nora Ikstena is proving that Latvia is speaking in a bold and original voice.' Rosie Goldsmith, broadcaster and reviewer
'Nora Ikstena's fiction opens up new paths not only for Latvian literature in English translation but for English literature itself.' Jeremy Davis, Dalkey Archive Press
170 printed pages
Copyright owner
Original publication
Publication year
Peirene Press
Have you already read it? How did you like it?


  • flamenka123has quoted3 months ago
    d on the waste heap of our times.
  • Zoranahas quoted4 years ago
    Don’t talk like that,’ I heard Jesse say, trying to comfort my daughter. ‘This is the hand that we’ve been dealt. We’re worn out from carrying heavy burdens. Everything has to be accepted with humility, even wire brushes. Then you’ll regain your strength of soul.’
  • Zoranahas quoted4 years ago
    But why did he eat his children?’ I asked my mother.

    ‘Probably he was saving them from being caged,’ Mother said, and hugged me tightly

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