Four teenagers grow inseparable in the last days of the Soviet Union—but not all of them will live to see the new world arrive in this powerful debut novel, loosely based on Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.

“A timeless tale of memory, desire, dreams lost and altered, love changed and unchanged.”—Yiyun Li, author of Must I Go

Coming of age in the USSR in the 1980s, best friends Anya and Milka try to envision a free and joyful future for themselves. They spend their summers at Anya’s dacha just outside of Moscow, lazing in the apple orchard, listening to Queen songs, and fantasizing about trips abroad and the lives of American teenagers. Meanwhile, Anya’s parents talk about World War II, the Blockade, and the hardships they have endured.

By the time Anya and Milka are fifteen, the Soviet Empire is on the verge of collapse. They pair up with classmates Trifonov and Lopatin, and the four friends share secrets and desires, argue about history and politics, and discuss forbidden books. But the world is changing, and the fleeting time they have together is cut short by a sudden tragedy.

Years later, Anya returns to Russia from America, where she has chosen a different kind of life, far from her family and childhood friends. When she meets Lopatin again, he is a smug businessman who wants to buy her parents’ dacha and cut down the apple orchard. Haunted by the ghosts of her youth, Anya comes to the stark realization that memory does not fade or disappear; rather, it moves us across time, connecting our past to our future, joys to sorrows.

Inspired by Anton Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard, Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry’s The Orchard powerfully captures the lives of four Soviet teenagers who are about to lose their country and one another, and who struggle to survive, to save their friendship, to recover all that has been lost.
The Orchard is a beautiful portrayal of life lived in enormous change and upheaval, rooted in the history of a vast country, and the process of living beyond the sorrows of the history we inherit. It is a novel worthy of the master, Chekhov, whose great play we see echoed in it—Chekhov, who, as Robert Stone said, gave us a way to see the century he had hardly lived to see. Well, Chekhov and Robert Stone both would admire this novel as I do.”—Richard Bausch, author of Peace
The Orchard perfectly captures what news cycles neglect to explore: children whose lives intertwine with history, and the adults they one day become, whose lives are so much more nuanced and monumental than history. Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry brings us a timeless tale of memory, desire, dreams lost and altered, love changed and unchanged.”—Yiyun Lee, author of Must I Go

“In The Orchard, Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry has given us a deeply personal coming-of-age story with the unapologetic sensuality and impressive scope of a García Márquez novel. This is a sublime novel.”—Christine Sneed, author of The Virginity of Famous Men and Paris, He Said
“The term ‘Chekovian’ gets tossed around far too freely these days, but in the case of Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry’s beautiful novelistic debut, nothing less will suffice, for reasons that will soon become apparent to the discerning reader. Gorcheva-Newberry is among the most subtle and evocative writers I have read in many years. This novel is a gem, and its author is a major new voice in contemporary fiction. This may be the first time you've heard of her. But it will not be the last.”—Steve Yarbrough, author of The Unmade World

The Orchard is extraordinary. Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry captures a generation’s coming-of-age during perestroika with aching empathy and in language that is by turns transcendent and unsparing. Drawing back her own curtain on a world few outside the Iron one could have fathomed, Gorcheva-Newberry delivers an electrifying novel, brimming with passion, pathos, and searing insights into Russia’s turbulent and richly textured past. I literally didn’t want the novel to end.”—Jennifer Cody Epstein, author of Wunderland
“Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry exquisitely chronicles the pervasive losses and loves of her four unforgettable ‘Perestroika generation’ characters. The Orchard is a fitting homage to the great Chekhov himself.”—Cristina García, author of Here in Berlin and Dreaming in Cuban

“This tender debut novel tips its hat to Chekhov’s last play. Snow, politics, orchards, love, death, and guilt figure in the experience of best friends in their coming-of-age in the Russia of perestroika. Gorcheva-Newberry conveys the poignance of adolescent urgency with a poet’s elliptical dash. The Orchard is a great pleasure, a novel that reminds us of that intense time of life when it all mattered.”—Christine Schutt, author of Pure Hollywood