Thursday, 7 July 2011

Anarchy in the UKR

Serhiy Zhadan
Lev Hrytsyuk writes that contemporary Ukrainian writing is increasingly finding a home in Swedish - Anarchy in the UKR (2005) by the young Ukrainian poet and novelist Serhiy Zhadan (Zjadan in Swedish) made it to Russia's National Bestseller shortlist in 2008, and the novel pulls no punches, focusing as it does on some particularly violent episodes from 20th century Ukrainian history. The book is a result of the author's  travel through Ukraine to the places where the famous revolutionary and anarchist guerrilla warrior Nestor Makhno fought his battles. Between 1918 and 1921 Makhno was leader of the peasant army that fought against the German, Austrian and Belarusian counter-revolutionary forces in Ukraine. Zhadan's narrative style deliberately mimics the phrasings and moral contortions of Soviet journalism, and the entire venture seems to be a no-holds-barred polemic with Ukraine itself. 

Now Bonniers are set to publish the book in Nils Håkanson's Swedish translation. It's unclear whether an English version is planned - somehow one feels that it ought to be.

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