If you are a publisher or an agent and would like to learn more about these works, please contact Irena.
Completed (& in search of the right publisher)
Bananas for Bella
Dotalolota doesn't believe anything, not even a lobster tale
Little Robbie Likes to Help
The Walk to Some Stranger's House
An excerpt from Gershon's Kiss
At the Tashkent Station, the exhausted, hungry evacuees from Kiev, Kharkov, Moscow, Leningrad, Minsk, Odessa were coming to devour the City of Bread that legend had it was also bursting with dates and apricots, apples and pomegranates, peaches and pears.....
Advanced readers are saying
“Beautiful, raw, at times comedic. An exposition of love, desire and humanity across generational and cultural divides that stays with you. The novel really does teach me a lot about the inherent imperfection of love and the collateral damage that arises whenever we try to move closer to our own happiness." — Avril Allen, lawyer, Toronto
“A compelling story. I was pleasantly surprised at how competent it was from a new writer.” — Sharon Butala, author of Season of Fury and Wonder, Calgary
"A story within a story about love and the pursuit of a relationship based on feelings of the heart instead of societal expectations. Gershon's Kiss illuminates traditional Jewish mystical concepts about the intertwined relationship between the heart and the mind against a modern community backdrop. The embedded Gershon's diary story is brilliantly written mixed with historical realism, humour and bits of eroticism. Rachel is a beautifully crafted character whose voice will make you laugh, cry and question the meaning of your own relationships. A fantastic undertaking from a gifted new writing talent. A well told story worth the read." — Brad Zipursky, award winning storyographer, Calgary
An excerpt from Bananas for Bella
The train crossed the border into Poland. Papa, Mama and me were happy that we left the SSSR. We lay on the bunk looking out of the window. The Polish farm fields were golden yellow under the bright rays of the sun.
The train arrived in the Warsaw Railway Station. Papa went outside. I yelled from the window asking Papa to come back. Papa said not to be frightened the train will not leave without him.
Papa came back a few minutes later. He brought back three bananas. Papa said he spoke to a nice man working in the railway station and told him our family had left the Soviet Union. The nice man went away and quickly came back with three bananas.
“This is for your family,” the nice man said.....
"Having travelled this path myself, I felt a deep connection to Bella. It’s a story about a journey from across the world — from the USSR to Canada — that will resonate with readers whether they lived through an immigrant experience themselves or wish to learn about the lives of others." — Galina Kofman, Creative Director at Pitch Digital Communications, Calgary
"I loved the story and the theme of yellow. The opening is charming. The references to maps and vocabulary are lovely. I think the part of the story that references HIAS has Jewish appeal. It is also a story of the hardships of leaving one's country of birth to go to a new place and start again.
I read the story again and found it very touching. I also loved the back face with the story of the struggle for the release of Soviet Jewry. I remember when I was pregnant with one child or another, we protested at the performance of the Bolshoi Ballet and there were clearly KGB dressed as cowboys, taking our pictures! That did not intimidate us.
A charming and touching book of love and heartache and heartbreak!"
— Leslie Levant, historical interpreter, facilitator & coach, Calgary
"A beautiful and timely story. Through the eyes of a child, uprooted from her Ukrainian homeland, Irena poignantly captures the bitter sweet moments of a migrant family on their journey to Canada." — Amy Martin, editor, Calgary
An excerpt from Little Robbie Likes to Help
Little Robbie likes to help his Dad when he makes breakfast on Sunday morning. When his Dad is making a big omelette, Little Robbie puts slices of bread in the toaster and then smothers the pieces with butter.....
"What Robbie does is good for him. Reading this book will be good for you. I totally enjoyed it." — Dr. Brian Shustack, psychologist, Calgary