Zinaida’s from Odessa, Ukraine, where they speak Russian outside of Russia. In the U.S., where they speak English outside England, she has met Valentine. Odessa, Zina’s motherland, is motherless, her mother having abandoned their family for the American dream. Valentine’s father abandoned Odessa, his motherland too, for the U.S. Now Zina and Valentine are returning to Odessa during the 2014 Ukrainian Spring (Euromaidan). In this place at this time, one’s tongue can determine whether one lives or dies.
Two Big Differences is a story of navigating identity through language.
Comparative titles include The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner, Immigrant City by David Bezmozgis, and Jhumpa Lahiri’s work in Italian. Two Big Differences is a work of literary fiction and is approximately 73,000 words.