An Evening with Irina Zhorov, author of Lost Believers

Please join us on August 8th at 6:30 PM for An Evening with Irina Zhorov, author of Lost Believers


On August 1, Scribner will publish Irina Zhorov’s LOST BELIEVERS–an immersive and striking debut novel about a meeting between two women from very different worlds in 1970s Soviet Russia. Inspired by true events, this chance encounter between an ambitious scientist and a deeply religious homesteader on the plains of Siberia will profoundly alter the course of both their lives–and call into question long-held beliefs.

Galina is a talented young geologist from Moscow who has been sent by the government to explore minerals in the Siberian taiga for potential mining to service the state’s relentless pursuit of industrial progress. Agafia is the eldest daughter of a family of Old Believers–a persecuted sect of Eastern Orthodox Christians who have sought refuge in this remote corner of the earth. When Galina and her pilot (soon-to-be-lover) Snow Crane stumble upon Agafia’s family home one day during the region’s fleeting summer season, their meeting sets in motion an unforgettable series of events. Soon, Galina finds herself questioning the mission she has been assigned and its impact on the surrounding environment, while Agafia ponders a life beyond the isolation she was raised to believe sacred. And Snow Crane, who will come to play an important role in both women’s lives, harbors a long-held secret of his own.

Meanwhile, Galina must contend with a rocky relationship with her father, a Soviet bureaucrat distrustful of her career aspirations and romantic choices, while Agafia grapples with the sacrifices of loved ones and a longing for community. As the long shadow of the Stalin era lingers in ways both seen and unseen, both women face difficult choices, intriguing possibilities, and uncertain futures. A dramatic and revealing exploration of fate, aspiration, and Soviet politics, LOST BELIEVERS is a fascinating and unforgettable story.

"A beautiful, mournful novel about faith gravely tempered by grief and the brutal iron of modernity bringing the greatest of losses. Zhorov's voice is fresh and appealing."

—Joy Williams, author of The Visiting Privilege and Harrow



Irina Zhorov was born in Uzbekistan, in the Soviet Union, and moved to Philadelphia on the eve of its dissolution. After failing to make use of a geology degree she received an MFA from the University of Wyoming. She’s worked as a journalist for more than a decade, reporting primarily on environmental issues.


Event date: 
Tuesday, August 8, 2023 - 6:30pm
Event address: 
Head House Books
619 South 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Lost Believers: A Novel By Irina Zhorov Cover Image
ISBN: 9781668011539
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-3 Days
Published: Scribner - August 1st, 2023