‘Eat, Pray, Love’ author cancels release of Russia-set novel

Elizabeth Gilbert gave in to social media harassment and canceled an upcoming book set in Soviet Russia

‘Eat, Pray, Love’ author cancels release of Russia-set novel

‘Eat, Pray, Love’ author cancels release of Russia-set novel

Elizabeth Gilbert has withdrawn her own book from publication following harassment on social media by supporters of Ukraine

The novelist behind ‘Eat Pray Love’ has pulled an upcoming novel from publication after receiving a torrent of condemnation from Ukrainian internet commenters over its setting in Soviet Russia. 

Entitled ‘The Snow Forest’, Gilbert’s latest novel was announced by Bloomsbury last week, with a publication date set for February 2024. Billed as “a riveting story about one family’s survival in a remote and beautiful wilderness,” the book promised to tell the tale of a family of fictional Russians who moved to Siberia to escape Soviet society and the creeping industrialization of the 1930s.

In an Instagram post on Monday, Gilbert revealed that she would withdraw the book from publication after receiving “an enormous, massive outpouring of reactions and responses from my Ukrainian readers expressing anger, sorrow, disappointment, and pain” at the fact that she would “release a book into the world right now – any book, no matter what the subject of it is – that is set in Russia.”

“It is not the time for this book to be published,” Gilbert continued. Despite the fact that the book was set decades before the conflict in Ukraine, and in a country that no longer exists, Gilbert claimed that releasing it would “harm” her Ukrainian readers.

In the days after its announcement, ‘The Snow Forest’ was bombarded by one-star reviews from Ukrainians and supporters of Kiev. Some commenters accused her of “romanticizing” a “terrorist state,” while others simply called the book “s**t” and declared that “there is nothing human” about Russian people.

Gilbert’s decision to cave in to the mob was met with criticism, however. “There is literally nothing these sycophants will accept other than no one ever mentioning Russian people’s existence ever again,” journalist Seamus Malekafzali wrote on Twitter. 

“This servility to Ukrainian russophobes and their fanatical supporters is pathetic,” another commenter wrote.

Anyone who pre-ordered the novel will be refunded, Gilbert stated. It is unclear how much money the novelist – who is already a multi-millionaire – stands to lose after withdrawing the book.