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Irina Reyn Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

What Happened to Anna K (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Imperial Wife (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mother Country (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Living on the Edge of the World (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Irina Reyn is an American author of fiction books. She was born in Moscow and currently lives in Brooklyn and Pittsburgh where she works as an Associate Professor. Her debut novel What Happened to Anna K was Amazon’s and Entertainment Weekly best books of 2008 and was also listed as the best book of the year on Washington Post and San Francisco Chronicles. The author’s second book The Imperial Wife was featured in Cosmopolitan, Real Simple and other publications.
Some of Irina Reyn’s work has been featured in some major publications such as Post Road, The Moscow Times, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle.
What Happened to Anna K?

Irina Reyn’s debut novel What Happened to Anna K.? tells the story of Anna Karenina in a new light. Anna Karenina was the main character created by Leo Tolstoy, a Russian author appearing in a book title by the same name. She is considered as the greatest work of literature to have been written, and the author himself termed it as his first true novel.

Irina’s re-imagination, storytelling, and writing is riveting and will have you glued to the story from the first page to the last and her spellbinding way of narrating the story of Anna K. in the present day New York takes the reader through a changed setting compared to Tolstoy’s Russia setting in the later 19th century.

In his book In Defence of Lust, Simon Blackburn tells us Lust overturns propriety, and it was lust that stole Anna from her husband and son.
But is it true that lust really stole our Anna Karenina?

Oh, here’s the gripping story of the beautiful, intricate and the elegant Anna. The longings of Anna for lost opportunities; her fading beauty and youth, for passage of time, for her motherland Russia, for her Romeo in life. Irina unambiguously describes all these longings, and these are the vital elements that make up Anna K.

Of all her desires, Anna’s biggest struggle is with time, that inner voice that reminds us to hurry and take it easy at the same time and never gives up regardless of the tragedies that befall us. Time ticks away indefinitely.

You can relate to Anna’s emotions according to Reyn’s descriptions. She struggles with dealing with the reality of our short-lived time here on this Earth. The precise and quiet passing of minutes, days, weeks, months and years- and as we age the more we vividly remember our childhood and the more we yearn to relive our days as a youth. It’s the same trick we play with ourselves when we think 30 as too young when we age above that mark but the same age seemed old when we were in our teenage years- as it seemed not an age we could see ourselves anytime soon.

How did we age so fast? That’s only a question time can answer. It’s only living every moment entirely can we find solace in our lives time makes us older. Through richness, healthy, determined and an honest life can we uncover the mysterious games that time plays with our minds and gets a better understanding of the importance of our time on earth.

Anna blends her fiction with the reality of life like ingredients in a smoothie recipe that blends well. In her late 30’s she is still unmarried and her parents have only but shame to carry with them to traditional gatherings and social parties. The socio-cultural pressures of the 19th century similarly compare to the present day New York City.

Reyn describes Anna as a woman who fights these pressures only internally but submits to them on the outside. She marries Alex. While Alex’s financial status would make any modern-day woman very happy, her interest’s lies somewhere else. She plays a silent observer in her life absorbing the shocks of her life from a distance. She marries at 39, gets a son and gains weight, and her body is never the same again. She observes all these from a distance, and she mourns every single event in her life as she sees it all as a loss after the other.

If you’re familiar with Anna Karenina, it’ll be easier for you to see the pattern in Reyn’s story as it follows a similar arc but in a much more condensed manner. It’s brief but detailed unlike the original version of the story, giving the readers a glimpse into what made our heroine unhappy in her life and embark on a life-changing journey.

The Imperial Wife

The Imperial Wife is a fascinating, brilliantly woven novel that parallels to wonderful and two women. The author writes very well of immigrants and the vagaries of love. Two women lives from different “worlds” collide when a priceless Russian artifact is discovered.

Tanya a professional in the Russian art at a prominent auction house in New York is trying to convince Russia’s wealthy individuals to bid on what seems to be the biggest sale of her career while making sense of the unexpected departure of her husband.

As questions arise regarding the origin of The Order of Saint Catherine and auction fever kicks in, Irina Reyn takes the readers into the glaring of the world of Catherine the Great, one of the famous 18century ruler who was the owner of the artifact. A woman who faced the same issues as Tanya is facing in her own life.

Irina Reyn parallels her story with the lives of Catherine the Great and the present day artifact specialist Tanya. She lays out her narrative in a side by side fashion of chapters set to Catherine and Tanya. There are two storylines in this book. The Russian storyline that tells the story of Catherine and her rise to power and the New York storyline that tells Tanya’s story.

The Imperial Wife is a brilliantly woven novel, suspenseful and fast-paced story that tries to answer the question of whether the female ambition is viewed any differently in the modern world or the same as in the past. Can a modern marriage withstand an Imperial Wife?

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