early praise for
“A rich tapestry of autobiography and meditations on feminism, motherhood, art, and culture, this book is as intellectually satisfying as it is artistically profound.
A sharply intelligent, lyrically provocative memoir.”
—Kirkus (starred review)
"Shalmiyev stubbornly, brilliantly pursues loss in this psychogeography of immigration, grief displacement, and damage. A mother herself, Shalmiyev's narrator channels the ghosts of Dorothy Richardson, Anaïs Nin, Frances Farmer, and the sad, bad stories of Aileen Wuornos and Amy Fisher, who could never be the right kind of girls. Like the great modernist writers, Shalmiyev writes from, not about trauma, but at a pitch that's witty, dry, sad, and laconic. 'I love America,' her narrator declares. 'It's broken, like me.'"
—Chris Kraus, Author Of I Love Dick
"The coldness of Russia, of the occult; the heat of punk rock, of motherhood. The psychic tear of emigration and motherlessness; a past gone into mystery. With sparse, poetic language, Shalmiyev builds a personal history that is fractured and raw; a brilliant, lovely ache."
—Michelle Tea, critically-acclaimed author of Against Memoir
"When she leaves her native Russia at age eleven, Sophia Shalmiyev is forced to abandon a mother she may never see again. Mother Winter is the wrenching story of her exile and grief, but it's also a chronicle of awakening—to art, sex, feminism, and the rich complexities of becoming a mother herself. Like a punk-rock Marguerite Duras, Shalmiyev has reinvented the language of longing. I love this gorgeous, gutting, unforgettable book."
—Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks
"Mother Winter slices through the conventions of narrative with the most delicate blade, ribboning what you think you know about memoir, homecoming, what it means to live in a female body, to live as a motherless mother, to be mothered by art and the arms of all that is strong enough to hold you. This book hypnotized me with its beauty and brutality. I feasted on Shalmiyev's sentences, and they will stay with me for a long, long time."
—Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart and Abandon Me
"The flickering alcoholic parent creates a writer by their absence. The kid colors the void, packs it with stuff, a life, and a love. And thus she lives. Mother Winter, Sophia Shalmiyev’s catastrophically bright, wavering motion of a memoir, forged through sticky clouds of pain, is vividly awesome and truly great."
—Eileen Myles, author of Evolution