Victoria Belim is a Financial Times columnist and translator whose new memoir The Rooster House is both a detective story and a paean to her lost land.
“Mourning a place is even more difficult than mourning a person,” writes Victoria Belim in The Rooster House. Her book is part-memoir, part-detective story as she returns to her birth country of Ukraine in 2014 to uncover the mystery of her missing great-uncle, but it is also a hymn to the beauty of Ukraine and a paean to her lost land. For as seasons pass and Victoria learns more about her family, she also becomes one with the land her grandmother tends and reconnects with the unbreakable spirit of Ukraine and its people. In this episode, Victoria speaks to Esme Bright about this period of self-discovery and shares her love for Ukraine’s rich history of art, craft and cooking. Their conversation touches on the nature of memory, the value of craftsmanship, how food can unite and the resilience of art in times of war.