Elizabeth Gilbert delays release of novel set in Russia, citing objections from Ukrainian readers
Jun 12, 2023, 9:16 AM
NEW YORK (AP) — Author Elizabeth Gilbert is delaying publication of a novel she had set in Russia, citing an outpouring of “anger, sorrow, disappointment and pain” she said she received from Ukrainian readers.
Gilbert’s “The Snow Forest,” based in Siberia and billed as “a dramatic story of one wild and mysterious girl in a pristine wilderness, and of the mystical connection between humans and the natural world,” had been scheduled to come out next February.
“It is not the time for this book to be published,” Gilbert said in a video message posted Monday on social media. “And I do not want to add any harm to a group of people who have already experienced, and who are continuing to experience, grievous and extreme harm.”
She said her readers objected to releasing any work about Russia — no matter the content — amid the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. A spokesperson for Gilbert at Riverhead Books confirmed the novel was being postponed indefinitely, but otherwise declined comment.
Gilbert, best known for her million-selling memoir “Eat Pray Love,” had recently announced the new book and said it was inspired by the spread of the coronavirus. In a video posted last week, Gilbert said she had lived in isolation during the pandemic and came to love it and “crave even deeper silence.” Trying to imagine how far one could remove herself from the modern world, she remembered a magazine article about a family that hid in the Siberian wilderness for half a century.
“The Snow Forest” tells of a girl of “great spiritual and creative talent raised far, far, far from everything that we call normal,” Gilbert had said.