Updated Jun 12, 2023, 2:05pm EDT

‘Eat, Pray, Love’ author pulls next book over Ukrainian backlash to Russian setting

Elizabeth Gilbert.
Erik Charlton/Wikimedia Commons

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Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote the 2006 memoir Eat, Pray, Love, said Monday that her upcoming novel won’t be released as scheduled after she received backlash from Ukrainian fans over the fact that the book is set in Russia.

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Last week, Gilbert announced that her next book would be The Snow Forest, which is set in the middle of Siberia in the 1900s and follows a group of people who decide to remove themselves from society to resist the Soviet government and protect nature from industrialization.

The book was set to be released in February 2024, around the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, through Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Over the weekend, over 500 people gave the book one star on the book review platform Goodreads; many of the reviewers said they were Ukrainian and were worried that the book would romanticize Russia at a time when the country is accused of committing war crimes.

“I have received an enormous, massive outpouring of reactions and responses from my Ukrainian readers expressing anger, sorrow, disappointment, and pain about the fact that I would choose to release a book into the world right now ... that is set in Russia,” Gilbert said Monday in a video posted to social media.


She said she is removing the book from its publication schedule and turning to other projects.

“It is not the time for this book to be published,” she said.

Anyone charged for pre-ordering the book will be refunded.