My grandmother had no husband, or at least that is always what I assumed as a child. While I could account for each member on my mother’s side—a large Italian family of great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and a myriad of cousins, first and second, who met for traditional Sunday meals that began at 1 P.M. […]
By Thomas Chatterton Williams In this assured debut based on aspects of her grandfather’s life, Vanessa Manko explores the existential bind of statelessness and exile. The narrative opens in 1920 Connecticut — during a period of intense anti-communist fervor — when Austin (né Ustin) Voronkov, a political young Russian emigre engineer, working at the local […]
By Yvonne Zipp For a convicted anarchist, Austin Voronkov is one of the most law-abiding people you’d ever meet. The engineer lives, trapped in a stateless limbo, in Mexico City in 1948 in Vanessa Manko’s wistful, perceptive debut novel, The Invention of Exile. Austin repairs toasters and clocks to earn money, while concocting invention after […]
By Carmela Ciuraru THE INVENTION OF EXILE By Vanessa Manko 294 pages. Penguin Press. $26.95. An ambitious engineer and aspiring inventor, Ustin Voronkov, emigrates from Russia in 1913 to Bridgeport, Conn., where he finds work at a rifle factory. Six years later, Austin (as he calls himself) marries an American woman, Julia, but still feels […]
By Norah Piehl At one point in Vanessa Manko’s debut novel, THE INVENTION OF EXILE, her protagonist, Austin Voronkov, stands on the Mexico-U.S. border, just yards away from the country he both resents and longs for: “The beads of sweat formed along his back, tears rolled down his face, and his heart felt dry and […]
By Royal Young Vanessa Manko’s debut novel The Invention of Exile (Penguin) is a stunning, dream-like exploration of geographical and psychic borders. Austin, a young Russian immigrant, comes to Connecticut and falls in love with Julia. Read the full interview here!
By Courtney Allison Vanessa Manko never thought she would write a novel. Growing up in suburban Connecticut, the debut author trained in ballet and danced professionally with a company before deciding to attend college. Read full interview here!
By Elizabeth Graver “They traveled with no documents,” writes Vanessa Manko of Julia and Austin, the central couple in her debut novel, “The Invention of Exile.’’ “By marrying him, Julia was no longer an American citizen. Austin was stateless, but, as far as he was concerned, they were Russian. Only Russia no longer existed. It […]
“A novel so assured in its voice and storytelling that it’s almost hard to believe it’s her first.” Miwa Messer, Director of the B&N Discover Program You can read the B&N Review article here: “Up All Night: 20 Fall Pick from Discover Great New Writers” And please check out the full Fall 2014 B&N Discover […]
“Manko’s debut novel, The Invention of Exile, is a beautifully written story of Austin Voronkov, a Russian inventor who immigrates to the U.S., but through a series of unfortunate events, finds himself without a country. Filled with poignant insights on what it means to belong, Manko gives readers a sweeping, masterfully-told story spanning continents and […]