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Take My Grief Away


Full English and German translations available

Take My Grief Away contains raw and heartbreaking first-person accounts of harrowing war experiences, collected by Katerina Gordeeva, a prize-winning independent journalist who was named “a foreign agent” by Russian state officials in autumn 2022. Gordeeva interviews people at refugee centers in Russia and Europe after February 24th, when the war in Ukraine began. Common grief unites these people who come from different backgrounds and whose views are often diametrically opposed. These stories will transform what you know about this ongoing war. These voices need to be heard.

Take My Grief Away is a book of reportage and interviews conducted and written by Katerina Gordeeva. Gordeeva, one of modern Russia’s most famous independent journalists, received the Anna Politkovskaya International Journalism Prize in August of 2022 and was named one of the top 10 most influential independent journalists in Russia by Romir Research Holding.

Katerina spent months shuttling between refugee centers in Russia and Europe, and visiting Ukraine. The result of her travels is Humans at War, a 3,5-hour documentary on her YouTube channel. It has been viewed by more than 3 million viewers. Material that Gordeeva gathered while making the film but left out of the final cut was adapted for Take My Grief Away.

Katerina succeeds in collecting and telling the life stories and dramas of people who express diametrically opposed views. The book juxtaposes twenty-four unique stories: each story is a first-person account of lives ruined in the most unthinkable ways.

The list of the stories’ heroes includes:

- Julia from Mariupol, a young woman joking that she can stick a magnet on the shrapnel in the back of her head.

- Marina from Mariupol, who told Katerina about cockroaches.

- Svetlana Petrenko, an eighty-four-year-old retiree who lost her mind after shellings and slipped back into her childhood, thinking it was 1942 and fascists had occupied her native Avdiivka.

- Ruslan Miroshnichenko, a physical education teacher from Mariupol who dreamed of a demon shortly before their section in the apartment building collapsed.

- Stefania Cecchini, a farmer from Italy who sheltered three families from Mykolaiv at her home.

- Inna from Mariupol, who went out for a walk with her dog. While she was gone, one of Kadyrov’s tanks fired at her apartment, where her husband and other dog were. They died.

- Ilya, a guy missing a leg. He volunteered for the Security Service of Ukraine and was severely injured by a mine.

- Lyuba, a pregnant woman who couldn’t crouch down while under fire.

- Tamara Sergeevna, mother of a soldier who returned from captivity with his eyes poked out.

- Lena, a woman whose husband was killed by Russian soldiers, though she was saved by Russian soldiers.

- Kora, a dog who was saved in Bucha.

Gordeeva has no archaic dilemmas about sticking to professional standards or intervening in a life. The storylines and people collected in this book are staggering. Tragedies, the journey of the Ukrainian people from incomprehension to fury, via rage… A wound that is now permanent.

— Dmitry Muratov, chief editor of Novaya Gazeta, Nobel prize winner

Someday people will learn history by reading Katerina Gordeeva’s books. Not the history of war, but rather the history of people at war.

— Svetlana Alexievich, a writer, Nobel prize winner

Stories from reality written with an outstanding literary force and active compassion.

— Die Zeit

In its best moments, the book has something of the shattering precision of Svetlana Alexievich's texts; one senses that a naked, existential homelessness surrounds these people.

— Die Sueddeutsche Zeitung

Book details

Meduza, 2024

Non-fiction, reportage, interviews

388 pp

Rights sold

  • World English Ebury/Penguin Random House

  • German Droemer Knaur

  • Spanish Comanegra

  • Catalan Comanegra

  • Dutch Murrow/Overamstel Uitgevers

  • Czech Maraton

  • Italian 21Lettere

  • Hungarian Helikon

  • Swedish Celander

  • Estonian Sinisukk

  • Latvian Zvaigzne

  • Finnish Minerva

  • Polish Sonia Draga

  • Japanese Hakusuisha Publishing

Literary awards

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