A whole community deported across Soviet Russia, a rice farmer and his wife separated through time, a young art student searching for her identity and for love . . .

Is all love doomed under a heartless regime?

Antonina is a student at the prestigious Academy of Art in St Petersburg. At times, though, she feels she might be a better fit at the Centre of Nonconformist Art across town. She knows she stands out as different, being neither Russian, Korean nor Kazakh — and yet she embodies all three. She is Koryo-saram: a descendant of the exiled population that Stalin labelled the Unreliable People. But what does that mean? And who was the strange, elegant woman who came to the window when Antonina was a young child? And why did she entice Antonina to climb out and go on a long train journey through Kazakhstan?

This is a compelling story where love and loss intersect unexpectedly with a Korean fable about a crow king and a rice farmer’s wife.


Rosetta Allan

Rosetta Allan is an Auckland based novelist, poet, and short fiction writer. Born in Putaruru, Rosetta grew up in the Hawkes Bay, then studied at the University of Auckland, obtaining her Masters of Creative Writing with First Class Honours in 2017, and was the recipient of the Sir James Wallace Masters of Creative Writing Scholarship.

Country of Origin



Review The Unreliable People, Rosetta Allan
Karen Chisholm
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
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Review The Unreliable People, Rosetta Allan
Karen Chisholm
Wednesday, August 19, 2020

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