Black marketeers

My summer of love with God’s gift

When the author and podcaster Viv Groskop first visited Ukraine, she travelled there from Moscow, on a long train that ran eventually beside a field of sunflowers. They were, she recalls in her lovely and modestly scaled memoir, like a ‘blast of sunshine screaming: “Welcome to Ukraine! You are no longer in Russia!”’ The year was 1994, and Groskop had been in the former USSR for a little under a year. A modern languages undergraduate at Cambridge, she had decided to take her year abroad in St Petersburg. Until she got there, she had barely thought of Ukraine. It was one of a bunch of newly independent states; it hadn’t