Mykola Riabchuk. The Stone and Sysyphus: Literary Essays

Hanna Protasova ・ August 2016
Kharkiv: Akta, 2016.
Original title in Ukrainian: Каміння і Сізіф: літературні есеї [Kaminnia i Sizif: Literaturni eseï]
In the preface to the book Riabchuk offers a brief description of his own path “from literary studies to political science,” due primarily to a shift known as the “ghettoization” of literary criticism already after Ukraine’s independence, its functioning mainly within a circle of the “consecrated” and “chosen,” and, therefore, also due to the minimal influence of critical writing on social transformation. The author proposes an important thesis in the context of the book of a mutual interdependence of both the elite and the egalitarian cultural worlds, of the need to build interpretative...

Wedding Cabbage

Vasyl Makhno ・ September 2014

Three trains — Prague-Moscow, Budapest-Moscow, and Belgrade-Moscow — brought the smell of the abroad to the Ternopil station. Usually these trains had several...


Roksana Kharchuk. Contemporary Ukrainian Prose. The Postmodern Period.

Alyona Artiukh ・ March 2014
Kyiv: Akademia, 2008.
This broad analytical cross-section surveys the general state of Postmodern Studies in Ukrainian literary criticism, which remains relatively new in the Ukrainian context, while elucidating local scholars’ perceptions of postmodernism. In this context, Kharchuk defines the 1990-2000s as the postmodern period and examines various writers' works of prose published in the period. She resists the temptation to divide the authors into postmodernists and non-postmodernists—or, even more perilously, to single out only those who can be called postmodern.

A Pair of Boots

Olesya Khromeychuk ・ March 2019

The pair I held in my lap stood sharply apart from the rest. There, among civilian shoes, this army pair looked like it was from another planet. I cried for the...


Oksana Zabuzhko. The Museum of Abandoned Secrets

Oleh Kotsarev ・ March 2014
Kyiv: Fakt, 2009.
The Museum of Abandoned Secrets is a sort of deconstructed family saga-cum-detective novel. The two main characters, a journalist and an antiques dealer, seek to disentangle the intricacies of their families’ and neighbours’ families’ pasts—intricacies tinged with blood, betrayal, loyalty, and steeped in 20th century history: the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, the Holodomor, the Thaw, etc. Symbolically, the novel ends in 2004, on the eve of another historically notable moment—the Orange Revolution. Thus, it is about dignity, choice, and idealism—everything that materialized so distinctly in 2004.

Text Without Context

Yevheniya Kononenko ・ April 2011

Lina Kostenko’s novel "Diary of a Ukrainian Madman" is about the unrealized Ukrainian nation as an unrealized human individual. Clearly, the author wanted to...