This is a different sort of book. It's not fiction, but it doesn't really read like a memoir either. It's the true story of Bibish, an Uzbeki woman who grows up in a tiny village. Bibish is sexually assaulted on more than one occasion, but never tells anyone because in her culture, she would be punished for the assaults. She endures numerous hardships but somehow maintains hope and a desire to escape her difficult life. She loves to dance but is punished for doing so by her family. She makes her escape, which leads to a whole new series of pitfalls.
Although many of the things that happen to her are horrific, there are other, more light hearted aspects of the novel too. When Bibish moves to Russia and sets up a stall in the marketplace, she hasn't quite got the hang of the Russian language and makes some fairly inappropriate, and hilarious, gaffes while trying to talk to customers. The tone of the book is very conversational, almost a cross between a journal and a long talk with a close friend. It's both sad and uplifting, and a clear and personal portrait of one woman's struggle to survive oppression and poverty with her spirit intact.