The River


by Laura Vinogradova

March 4, 2025
stories | pb | 140 pgs.
5.5" x 8.5"

“Sis, I want to tell you about the river. About me in the river. It makes me shiver, tremble. It makes me laugh. It’s been so long since I’ve felt this alive . . .”

Rute is no stranger to loss. As a child she and her older sister, Dina, were subject to their mother’s romantic whims, moving from house to house, boyfriend to boyfriend. Then, when the sisters were in their late twenties, Dina disappeared. In the decade that has since passed, Rute has become a husk of her former self, going through the motions in work, life, and love, composing daily letters to Dina in the hopes they’ll one day see each other again. 

When the sisters’ biological father, Jūle, dies, Rute unexpectedly inherits his country property. Curious about this man she’s never really known, she takes the opportunity to flee the city, the people, herself. But once in the countryside she meets Matilde, the young, single mother from next door who (along with her brother Kristof) was practically raised by Jūle. Rute learns about Jūle, a generous soul whose door and heart were always open to those less fortunate. 

Haunting, sparse, and echoing Scandinavian greats like Kjersti Skomsvold, Laura Vinogradova’s The River is a tightly crafted work that defies resolutions and endings, instead hailing the importance and beauty of the personal journey to one’s internal truths and external freedoms.

Translated from the Latvian by Kaija Straumanis

About the Author:

Laura Vinogradova (1984) is the author of a children's book ("Baby Long Nose from the Long Nose Village") and two collections of short stories ("exhalations" and "Bear Hill"). The River is her first novel and was shortlisted for the 2020 Latvian Literature Award, and received a 2021 EU Prize for Literature.

About the Translator:

Kaija Straumanis is an award-winning translator from the Latvian, and is the Editorial Director of Open Letter Books. Her translations include works by such authors as Inga Ābele, Jānis Joņevs, Laura Vinogradova, and Gundega Repše, among others. She received a 2020 NEA Literature Translation Fellowship for her work on Forest Daughters edited by Sanita Reinsone.

Praise for Laura Vinogradova

"Laura Vinogradova . . . sets the reader—gently, but without dawdling—in a bend in the river where everything we don’t want to acknowledge comes floating to the surface.”—Newspaper Diena