AbstractThis article analyses Ol'ga Zhuk’s 2013 novel Strogaia devushka from the perspective of queer feminist diaspora studies. The novel stands out as an example of life-writing depicting a woman who migrated from the post-Soviet region to Germany in non-heterosexual relationships. This article analyses its intersectional thematic scope, its complex non-linear migration narrative, its critique of the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia, as well as Western feminism. The novel depicts a relationship between a Jewish woman of Russian origin with a Dutch woman residing in Germany, exploring topics of violence, drug use, poverty, mental health and art. The article seeks to understand why Strogaia devushka has not become a ‘cult novel’ in its multiple contexts and why it resists classification as a queer feminist diaspora text, even though it fits each of these categories separately. I conclude by suggesting that Zhuk’s Strogaia devushka is best understood as an uncomfortable narrative of queer post-Soviet diaspora, and suggest ways, in which this ‘discomfort’ might contribute to self-reflection for multiply positioned readers.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.