Elizabeth Gilbert, the author behind the hit memoir “Eat, Pray, Love,” has announced that she is withdrawing her upcoming novel set in Russia after facing criticism and backlash online.
Gilbert announced the decision on her Facebook page, stating that she had received a “torrent of hate” on social media in response to her book, which had not yet been released. The novel, titled “City of Girls,” follows a young woman in 1940s New York who becomes involved in the theater scene and travels to Russia.
The author stated that while the book was “an act of imagination and love,” she recognizes that “the world is a different place” and the current political climate makes it difficult to write about Russia without causing offense or triggering controversy.
Gilbert also stated that she did not want to contribute to the negative stereotypes that often surround Russian culture and its people, acknowledging the harm that such portrayals can cause.
Her decision has been met with mixed reactions, with some praising her for recognizing the potential harm her book could cause, while others have criticized her for caving to online pressure and for not standing by her work.
Regardless of the controversy, Gilbert’s decision highlights the difficult balance that authors must strike when writing about cultural or political topics in today’s highly charged and polarized world.
It also raises important questions about the role of art and the responsibilities that come with it, particularly in a time when cultural appropriation and the pervasive impact of negative stereotypes are becoming increasingly prevalent issues.
While some may see Gilbert’s decision as a missed opportunity, it also highlights the need for greater dialogue and sensitivity around cultural representation in literature, and serves as a reminder of the powerful impact that art can have on shaping our perceptions of the world.