ON OUR WAY HOME
FROM THE REVOLUTION
Mad Creek Books/The Ohio State University Press
21st Century Essays Series
Winner of the 2018 Gournay Prize
A "Most Anticipated Essay Collection" for Fall 2019 —Lit Hub
"[A] layered and lyrical debut... an emotionally urgent personal reckoning with suffering, corruption, and culpability." —Los Angeles Review of Books
"The essays build to a shocking discovery that provides a thud of misunderstanding about our collective pasts — our very ideas of ourselves — that is so profound I have a hard time imagining a reader who will not feel equally stunned and seen." —Chicago Review of Books
“A fierce, lyrical book that achieves a rare balance between the burden and beauty of heritage. A powerfully American book even as it travels to post–Cold War Ukraine. The best use of memoir is not a how-I-got-to-be-me story, but a book like this—a courageous effort to pierce the secrets of a vexed political and cultural history.” —Patricia Hampl, author of A Romantic Education
“On Our Way Home from the Revolution is a remarkable work of lyric inquiry and brutal empathy. A carefully crafted collection that paints a loving but honest portrait of family, country, and self through the eyes of a brilliant young writer unafraid to look directly into the blistering stare of a Chernobyl sunset or the red sunrise of a fire-fueled revolution.” —Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas, author of Don't Come Back
“Part mythology, part personal essay, and part historical fact-finding mission that circles her family’s patriotic devotion to Ukraine, Sonya Bilocerkowycz asks what it means to love a country that struggles to confront its complicated history and wonders what to make of the incomplete narrative she inherited as a child. Tender, probing, and deeply honest.” —Angela Pelster, author of Limber
In 2014 Sonya Bilocerkowycz is a tourist at a deadly revolution. At first she is enamored with the Ukrainians’ idealism, which reminds her of her own patriotic family. But when the romantic revolution melts into a war with Russia, she becomes disillusioned, prompting a return home to the US and the diaspora community that raised her. As the daughter of a man who studies Ukrainian dissidents for a living, the granddaughter of war refugees, and the great-granddaughter of a gulag victim, Bilocerkowycz has inherited a legacy of political oppression. But what does it mean when she discovers a missing page from her family’s survival story—one that raises questions about her own guilt?
In these linked essays, Bilocerkowycz invites readers to meet a swirling cast of post-Soviet characters, including a Russian intelligence officer who finds Osama bin Laden a few weeks after 9/11; a Ukrainian poet whose nose gets broken by Russian separatists; and a long-lost relative who drives a bus into the heart of Chernobyl. On Our Way Home from the Revolution muddles our easy distinctions between innocence and complicity, agency and fate.