Three Sisters

Original title: Trois soeurs

Author: Poggioli, Laura

Publication Date:

August 2022



Original language and publisher

French | L’Iconoclaste

Territories Handled

Netherlands, North America, Scandinavia


Literary Fiction

Number of copies sold:



  • Prix Stanislas 2022 (longlisted)
  • Prix du Premier Roman 2022 (longlisted)
  • Prix Envoyé par la Poste 2022 (winner)
  • Prix Libraires en Seine 2023 (longlisted)

Three Sisters

Original title: Trois soeurs

Author: Poggioli, Laura


“By the quality of her quill, her sincere tone and her attention to the other, the author
of these Three Sisters imposes herself as a new voice of “roman vrai” (the real novel),
in the lineage of Emmanuel Carrère and Ivan Jablonka.” — Le Point

“If the French Laura Poggioli has made this case the heart of her first novel, with its
Chekhovian title, it’s because she questions, as an echo, not only her own Russophile
feelings but also her relationship with men and their hold on her. To the photos of the
sisters and to news clippings, she mixes in her blurred memories: a violent great-
grandfather, an abusive teacher and then, more clearly, this possessive and threatening
Mitya whom she fell for when she studied in Moscow.” — Marie Claire

“By intertwining this blood-chilling story with her own, Laura Poggioli weaves a
striking web of accuracy and softness, between patriarchal violence and sorority,
between brutal facts and shared emotions, between Russia and France where, in the
end, the story of women, homes and what’s hiding there remains marked by the same
masculine injunctions.” — Axelle n°249

“Her style feels like an act of self-defense in the face of the the world’s violence.” —
Ecumes Blanches

Inspired by the Kathchatourian sisters’ case, the novel explores contemporary Russia and questions men’s violence.

A Russian story, a French novelist: a story of love and death.

“If he beats you, it’s because he loves you,” says a Russian proverb.

A patricide

Sitting side by side in the entrance of a Moscow apartment, three young girls, aged seventeen to nineteen, wait for the police to arrive, a few meters from the inert body of their father Mikhail Khatchatourian. For years, he had been attacking them, insulting them, hitting them, abusing them, night and day. Until the three sisters had enough, and killed him.

A story that fascinates the narrator

When Laura Poggioli discovers this case, which has set the Russian media ablaze, she becomes fascinated by these young girls whose carefree faces conceal the torments they endured for years. She reconstructs their story, the silence of their relatives and the way in which the Russian police and justice system judge and condemn the three sisters for murder, refusing to grant them mitigating circumstances.

An intimate account of Russia

Laura Poggioli remembers her years in Moscow, shortly before this terrible crime. In high school she fell in love with the Russian language. She loved its romanticism and its harshness. There she met Marina, her dearest friend, and Mitya, her love who also was violent. The story of the young women takes her back to her youth in Moscow, to her relationship with men’s violence.

Between reality and fiction

Based on the elements of the investigation, Laura Poggioli imagines the life of the three sisters. She mixes the story of her own life with theirs, and constructs an intimate narrative that plunges us into the heart of today’s Russia, its shadows and its changing society.

« I discovered the Khachaturyan sisters during my last stay in Moscow, and I couldn’t get rid of them. I could not detach myself from them. I investigated this family, which has become the symbol of violence against women in Russia. Fiction allowed me to get out of the coldness of the news. This story awakened memories of my Russian years, when I lived in Moscow. I was twenty years old, I was in love and drunk with this country. »

Marketing Information

  • A fascinating story that resonates with the author’s life.
  • A first novel in the vein of Mathieu Palain’s last story, Ne t’arrête pas de courir (40 000 copies).
  • A book that gives insight of contemporary Russia.
  • The author’s inspiration is Emmanuel Carrère with his Roman russe and Limonov.