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Weary of rundown motels and long nights sleeping in her mother's car, Olya wants nothing more than a home. It seems she might finally find one with Jack, her mother's cousin who lives in a tumbledown ranch in Southern California's Inland Empire. But safety is not all that it seems.
Away to Stay burns with the urgency of its young narrator who bears witness to a world of desperate people flailing inside a broken system. Olya's mother Irina is a Russian ÉmigrÉ and self-serving liar, obsessed with becoming a prima ballerina and stalking Mikhail Baryshnikov. Cousin Jack is haunted by demons from the Afghanistan war—and the oft-absent Irina. Jack turns his obsession onto his untrainable dog named Bird that he kidnapped from the Riverside Police Department. To Olya, Bird is Job on four legs. Away to Stay is an off-beat and probing exploration of the precarity of shelter and home in the life of an immigrant and American working family.