Country Focus: Azerbaijan (Azarbaycan in Azeri)
The Orphan Sky
By Ella Leya
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark, 2015.
About the author: Leya, like her protagonist Leila, was born and raised in Soviet Azerbaijan. She emigrated to the U.S. in 1990 and makes her living as a singer-songwriter. The Orphan Sky is her first and only novel.
Why did my family live in such luxury? Why was my papa allowed to acquire and display his riches instead of using them for the common good? Why did I myself preach the equality of our Communist society to the younger generation?
Because that was the normal way of life in Soviet Azerbaijan, something I never would have thought of questioning. There were the common citizens and there was Nomenklatura—the ruling class of Communist Party members, who held key positions in government, industry, and culture. To become a part of Nomenklatura was an ultimate ambition of every Soviet citizen.
I was born into it.