When Stalina Folskaya flees her native Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, she sets out for America with her dreams — and her painful past — firmly in tow. In St. Petersburg, Stalina was a trained chemist, but in America, disillusioned with her profession, she takes a job as a maid at the Liberty, a seedy, “short-stay” motel on the outskirts of Hartford, Connecticut. Even here, gutsy Stalina sees opportunity, convincing the owner to let her transform the motel into a destination with fantasy settings. Even though her “Rooms for the Imaginative” put the American dream within her sights, the ghosts of her past will not go quietly. Obsessed with the desire to avenge her family while also longing for a new life in her new land, Stalina must choose between her obligations to the past and her hopes for the future. Stalina is a remarkable immigrant’s tale about a woman whose imagination — and force of personality — will let her stop at nothing.
“Stalina is a highly accomplished, imaginative work, an impressive debut. Emily Rubin is a writer to watch.” — Jonathan Baumbach, author of B
“Emily Rubin’s Stalina is an engaging international epic, a funny feminist treatise and a wise and emotionally satisfying serious novel all at the same time.” — Susan Shapiro, author of Overexposed and Speed Shrinking