I cannot say enough about this debut novel, which takes place in Chechnya, after its decade-long war with Russia. The snowy landscape is scarred by bombs, and countless people have “disappeared” at the hands of soldiers and rebels. Inside this bleak setting are an orphaned 8-year-old girl, Havaa; Akhmed, Havaa’s neighbor, who takes her in; and Sonya, a surgeon who reluctantly takes the pair into hiding at one of the region’s last functioning hospitals. This is a beautifully told tale that shines with eloquence and maturity. For fans of The Tiger’s Wife or Birdsong.