A self-centered, only child of classical musicians, Marina Julia Neary spent her early years in Eastern Europe and came to the US at the age of thirteen. Her literary career revolves around depicting military and social disasters, from the Charge of the Light Brigade, to the Irish Famine, to the Easter Rising in Dublin, to the nuclear explosion in Chernobyl some thirty miles away from her home town. Notorious for her abrasive personality and politically incorrect views that make her a persona non grata in most polite circles, Neary explores human suffering through the prism of dark humor, believing that tragedy and comedy go hand in hand.
Her debut thriller Wynfield's Kingdom was featured on the cover of the First Edition Magazine in the UK and earned the praise of the Neo-Victorian Studies Journal. After writing a series of novels dealing with the Anglo-Irish conflict, she takes a break from the slums of London and the gunpowder-filled streets of Dublin to delve into the picturesque radioactive swamps of her native Belarus. Saved by the Bang: a Nuclear Comedy is a deliciously offensive autobiographical satire featuring sex scandals of Eastern Europe's artistic elite in the face of political upheavals. Her latest Penmore release, The Gate of Dawn is a folkloric tale of conspiracy and revenge set in czarist Lithuania.
Welcome to 1980s Belarus, where Polish denim is the currency, “kike” is a pedestrian endearment, and a second-trimester abortion can be procured for a box of chocolates. Antonia Olenski, a catty half-Jewish professor at the Gomel Music Academy, wavers between her flamboyant composer husband, Joseph, and a chivalrous tenor, Nicholas. The Chernobyl disaster breaks up the love triangle, forcing Antonia into evacuation with her annoying eight-year-old daughter, Maryana.
After a summer of cruising through Crimean sanatoriums and provoking wounded Afghan veterans, Antonia starts pining for the intrigues and scandals of the Academy. When the queen of cats finally returns home, she finds that new artistic, ethnic, and sexual rivalries have emerged in the afterglow of nuclear fallout. How far will Antonia go to reclaim her throne?
"A hilarious romp that bounces between post-Chernobyl Belarus and Connecticut, this novel is a witty, clever, and sexy must-read!" — Shifra Hochberg, author of The Lost Catacomb.
Marina Julia Neary: The Gate of Dawn. Welcome to 1880s Vilnius, a volatile Northeastern metropolis where Balts, Germans, Poles, Russians, and Jews compete for a place in the sun. Textile magnate Hermann Lichter, in a hasty and bizarre deathbed transaction, gives his fifteen-year-old daughter Renate in marriage to Thaddeus, a widowed Polish farmer who rejects social hierarchy and toils side by side with his peasants. Renate’s arrival quickly antagonizes the household. During a visit to the city, Renate rekindles an affair with a young Jewish painter who sells his watercolors outside the Gate of Dawn chapel. While her husband might look the other way, his servants will not stand by and watch their adored master humiliated. From the cobblestone streets of old Vilnius, swarming with imperial gendarmes, to the misty bogs of rural Lithuania, The Gate of Dawn is a folkloric tale of rivalry, conspiracy, and revenge.
"The historic details and well-written descriptions bring the story alive. Neary is an accomplished wordsmith and I appreciated her excellent writing, attention to detail, complex and unique characters, and the slightly off-kilter perspective which make this novel unlike any other I've ever read. "— Sheila Dalton, author of Girl in the Box.