Your Mouth Is Lovely by Nancy Richler
A Novel

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"Each winter I'm sure will be my last. Dust to dust, I find myself saying as my frozen fingers struggle to hold the pen with which I write these words to you, Ashes to ashes, I mutter, and nothing but suffering and joy in between. I've had my share. Hot and sharp -- I taste it still in the blood that fills my mouth when I cough."

Miriam is a nineteen-year-old imprisoned in Siberia following the Russian Revolution of 1905. Reaching out to the young daughter whom she gave up at birth, Miriam weaves a haunting tale of life in a small Jewish village during the last days of imperial Russia and of a community caught between the rich yet rigid traditions of the past and the frightening, unfamiliar ways of a society desperately trying to reinvent itself.

Rejected by her suicidal mother and abandoned by her father at birth, Miriam is marked as an outcast in her village from the beginning. Reunited with her father when he marries Tsila, a haughty and complex woman whose beauty has been marred by the hand of divine anger, Miriam searches to unveil the secrets of her birth in a place of mystery and superstition, where everyone seems to know the truth that eludes her.

Your Mouth Is Lovely moves seamlessly from picturesque but impoverished villages, where fife is ruled by the iron hand of God and the equally powerful grip of Fate, to the slums of teeming Kiev, where a seething anger is about to change the course of Russian history. A story of epic human drama, Your Mouth Is Lovely is a poetic, dreamy novel with a darkly magical sheen.


About Nancy Richler

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NANCY RICHLER’s short fiction has been published in various American and Canadian literary journals, including Room of One’s Own, The New Quarterly, Prairie Fire, Another Chicago Magazine and The Journey Prize Anthology. Her first novel, Throwaway Angels, was published in 1996 and was shortlisted for the 1997 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Crime Novel. Her second novel, Your Mouth Is Lovely, won the 2003 Canadian Jewish Book Award for fiction and Italy’s 2004 Adei-Wizo Prize. It has been translated into seven languages. Born in Montreal, Nancy Richler lived for many years in Vancouver but has recently returned to Montreal. Visit her website at
Published January 1, 2003 by Flamingo. 368 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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(“Your mouth is lovely,” Tsila tells the child, teaching her to speak.) Miriam grows up under the sour, morbid teachings of Tsila, who scorns the town’s gossips and dreams of a better life outside of Russia.

Sep 15 2002 | Read Full Review of Your Mouth Is Lovely: A Novel

Book Reporter

Miriam quickly adapts to her new life with Tsila and Aaron Lev --- and adaptability becomes a theme in her life as she is incredibly impressionable in her acts and opinions.

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Your Mouth Is Lovely: A Novel

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