Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Invented Lives' by Andrea Goldsmith

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Invented Lives' by Andrea Goldsmith

Invented Lives

by Andrea Goldsmith

Scribe, $32.99 pb, 336 pp, 9781925713589

John Berger describes emigration as ‘the quintessential experience of our time’ (And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos, 1984), and gives credence to the concept that geographic and psychological exile is pervasive to the human condition. ‘No one willingly chooses exile – exile is the option when choice has run out,’ says the protagonist of Invented Lives, Russian-Jewish émigré Galina Kogan.

Andrea Goldsmith’s eighth novel opens in Leningrad. It is the mid-1980s and Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika and glasnost have been eagerly embraced by the West. Soviet citizens are more sceptical. Shortages and privations remain daily facts of life, and long experience has taught them the value of promises made by those in power. Quickly, before the rules change yet again, Galina and her mother, Lidiya, apply to emigrate. But Lidiya dies, and Galina is left alone to make the decisions they would have made together.

Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month.

We offer a range of subscription options, including print, which can be found by clicking here. If you are already a subscriber, enter your username and password in the ‘Log In’ section in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

If you require assistance, contact us or consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Published in April 2019, no. 410
Francesca Sasnaitis

Francesca Sasnaitis

Francesca Sasnaitis is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Western Australia and has recently completed her first novel, Summerlands, which is partially based on her family’s experience of World War II. 

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.