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...

Crickets and Turtle Doves

Vasyl Makhno ・ October 2015

How strange look the snow-covered olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane. How unusual to see the snow-covered tracks of the Jerusalem streetcars. Most happy...


What does not cease to astonish in the case of Stus's death is its incredible chronological proximity to our present day. That premeditated murder, that...


His favorite color is blue. He writes about the blue storms of civil-war battles and blue stagecoaches careening into the sky-blue distance. He calls a short...


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.

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.

Colombian Winter

Vasyl Makhno ・ February 2011

La muerte y el amor, with an emphasis on the “r” – perhaps with these two Spanish words it is possible to describe all of Colombian history. Civil wars, leftist...