August 7, 2023


Publication Date: June 27, 2023

Print Length: 304 pages


In this gripping memoir, Victoria Belim seeks to unravel the stories her Ukrainian family members never revealed about their past. In particular, she sets out to discover what happened to a great-uncle who failed to return home after being imprisoned by the Soviets.

During her trips to Ukraine to visit her grandmother, Belim learns how her family survived during the Communist revolution, the years of forced famine, the postwar Soviet occupation, and the current war with Russia.  While discovering more about her Ukrainian heritage, Belim details the strength and resilience of the Ukrainian people, while underscoring the impact war has had on her family and the country she loves


Merritt, Stephanie, “The Rooster House by Victorial Belim review – secrets and lies in Ukraine.” The Guardian, July 30, 2023.

Yurchyshyn, Anya, ”When going home becomes a fact-finding mission.” The New York Times, June 27, 2023.

Eden, Caroline, “The rooster trap, a Ukrainian family memoir through the lens of a KGB office.” Times Literary Supplement. June 9, 2023.


  • How does Ukraine’s location as a borderland between Russia and Europe help to explain the historic challenges the country has faced?

  • Decades after it ceased being the headquarters of the Soviet secret police, what did the Rooster House symbolize for the Ukrainians who lived nearby?

  • Ukrainian women embroidered linens (rushnyks) to record stories from the past. In what other ways did Belim find that records from Ukraine’s past were being preserved?

  • In what ways can we benefit from exploring our family history even when those memories continue to be traumatic?

Leave A Comment

Every month I offer a Book Club suggestion that highlights authors who write about their family history and explore themes of identity.
If you have books you would like to recommend, contact me at:

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Kaia Gallagher, Author, 7934 S CLAYTON CIR, Centennial, CO, 80122, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact