Everything is illuminated : a novelWith only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man - also named Jonathan Safran Foer - sets out to find the woman who might or might not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war, an amorous dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior, and the unforgettable Alex, a young Ukrainian translator who speaks in a sublimely butchered English, Jonathan is led on a quixotic journey over a devastated landscape and into an unexpected past.
As their adventure unfolds, Jonathan imagines the history of his grandfather's village, conjuring a magical fable of startling symmetries that unite generations across time. Lit by passion, fear, guilt, memory, and hope, the characters in Everything Is Illuminated mine the black holes of history. As the search moves back in time, the fantastical history moves forward, until reality collides with fiction in a heart-stopping scene of extraordinary power.
An arresting blend of high comedy and great tragedy, this is a story about searching for people and places that no longer exist, for the hidden truths that haunt every family, and for the delicate but necessary tales that link past and future. Exuberant and wise, hysterically funny and deeply moving, EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED is an astonishing debut.
The Orphanage: A NovelA searing novel that excavates the human collateral damage wrought by the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine
Escape into DangerEscape into Danger tells the remarkable story of a young girl's perilous adventures and coming of age during World War II. Born in Kiev to a Catholic mother and a Jewish father, Sophia Williams chose to be identified as Jewish when she was eligible for a Soviet passport, mandatory at the age of sixteen, little realizing the life-changing consequences of her decision. Only seventeen when Germany invaded Russia in 1941, Sophia left Kiev, unwittingly escaping the Babi Yar massacre. On her journey into Russia, she fled from flooding, dodged fires and bombs, and fell in love. At Stalingrad, Sophia turned back in a futile attempt to return home to her mother. Stranded in a Nazi-occupied town, accepted as a Russian, she found work with a sympathetic German officer and felt secure until a local girl recognized her as a Jew. Within days, Sophia's boss spirited her to safety with his family in Poland. Soon, though, Sophia was on the run again, this time to Nazi Germany, where, befriended by Germans and Hungarians, she somehow escaped detection through the rest of the war. She met and married a like-minded German soldier and started a family and business. The business thrived in post-war Germany, but the marriage deteriorated. She divorced her adulterous husband, but the vindictive, even homicidal Guido continued to dog her steps. Throughout, Sophia maintained her grit, charm, and optimism, the qualities that saved her as she time and again made her "escape into danger."
A Man Comes from SomeplaceA Man Comes from Someplace: Stories, History, Memory from a Lost Time is a cultural study of a multi-generational Jewish family from a shtetl in southwestern Ukraine before World War I to their international lives in the 21st century. The narrative, told from multiple perspectives, becomes a transformative space for re-presenting family stories as cultural performance. The study draws from many sources: ethnographic interviews with an oral storyteller (the author's father), family letters, papers from immigration and relief organizations of the 1920s, eyewitness reports, newspaper clippings, photographs, maps, genealogy, and cultural, historical, and literary research. The book investigates the ways family stories can be collected, interpreted, and re-presented to situate story in history and to re-envision connections between the past, present, and future. Family stories become memory sites for interrogating questions of loss and displacement, exile, immigration, survival, resilience, and identity. Stories function as antidotes to trauma, a means of making sense of the world. Memory is an act of resistance, the refusal to be silenced or erased, the insistence that we know the past and remember those who came before.
Ukrainian dissidents : an anthology of textsThe anthology gathers contributions from different genres. They range from poetry, public speeches, and samvydav—uncensored, self-published—texts to court speeches. They come from dissidents who were held in jails, special psychiatric hospitals (for not accepting the official ideology), and prison camps. Finally, they include self-reflections by dissidents on their personal experiences of opposing the totalitarian system.
The Ukrainian NightA vivid and intimate account of the Ukrainian Revolution, the rare moment when the political became the existential "[Shore's] history entails an extraordinary declaration of the power of human will and self-determination."--Kate Brown, Times Literary Supplement What is worth dying for? While the world watched the uprising on the Maidan as an episode in geopolitics, those in Ukraine during the extraordinary winter of 2013-14 lived the revolution as an existential transformation: the blurring of night and day, the loss of a sense of time, the sudden disappearance of fear, the imperative to make choices. In this lyrical and intimate book, Marci Shore evokes the human face of the Ukrainian Revolution. Grounded in the true stories of activists and soldiers, parents and children, Shore's book blends a narrative of suspenseful choices with a historian's reflections on what revolution is and what it means. She gently sets her portraits of individual revolutionaries against the past as they understand it--and the future as they hope to make it. In so doing, she provides a lesson about human solidarity in a world, our world, where the boundary between reality and fiction is ever more effaced.
The Wartime Diary of Edmund KesslerDr. Kessler, a Jewish attorney from Lwow, Poland, gives an eye-witness account of the Holocaust through the events recorded in his diary between the years 1942 and 1944. In vivid, raw, documentary style, he describes his experiences in the Lwow Ghetto, in the Janowska Concentration Camp, and in an underground bunker where he and twenty-three other Jews were hidden by a courageous Polish farmer and his family. The book includes a chapter written by Kazimierz Kalwinski, who as a teenager was a caretaker for the hidden Jews on his family's farm. Edmund's daughter, Renata Kessler, coordinated the book and has written an epilogue about her search for the story, which has taken her to Israel, Poland, and Lviv, Ukraine. Renowned scholar Antony Polonsky contributes an insightful historical overview of the times in which the book takes place. This volume is a tremendous resource for historians, scholars, and those interested in the Holocaust.
Hip Hop UkraineIn Hip Hop Ukraine, we enter a world of urban music and dance competitions, hip hop parties, and recording studio culture to explore unique sites of interracial encounters among African students, African immigrants, and local populations in eastern Ukraine. Adriana N. Helbig combines ethnographic research with music, media, and policy analysis to examine how localized forms of hip hop create social and political spaces where an interracial youth culture can speak to issues of human rights and racial equality. She maps the complex trajectories of musical influence--African, Soviet, American--to show how hip hop has become a site of social protest in post-socialist society and a vehicle for social change.
The showman and the Ukrainian cause : folk dance, film, and the life of Vasile AvramenkoA quixotic figure, Vasile Avramenko (1895-1981) used folk culture and modern media in a life-long crusade to promote Ukraine's struggle for independence to North American audiences. From his base in New York City, he built a network of folk dance schools and produced musical spectacles to help Ukrainian immigrants sustain their identity. His feature-length Ukrainian language films made in the 1930s with Hollywood director Edgar G. Ulmer, the "king of ethnic and B movies," were shown throughout North America. Orest T. Martynowych's The Showman and the Ukrainian Cause is a fascinating portrait how culture can become a political tool in a diaspora community.
Ukrainian Minstrels: Why the Blind Should SingThe blind mendicant in Ukrainian folk tradition is a little-known social order, but an important one. The singers of Ukrainian epics, these minstrels were organized into professional guilds that set standards for training and performance. Repressed during the Stalin era, this is their story.
Ukrainian Literature Translations/Criticism
Where Currents MeetWhere Currents Meet treats the Ukrainian and Russian components of cultural experience in Ukraine's East as elements of a complex continuum. This study of cultural memory in post-Soviet space shows how its inhabitants negotiate the historical legacy they have inherited. Tanya Zaharchenko approaches contemporary Ukrainian literature at the intersection of memory studies and border studies, and her analysis adds a new voice to an ongoing exploration of cultural and historical discourses in Ukraine. This scholarly journey through storylines explores the ways in which younger writers in Kharkiv (Kharkov in Russian), a diverse, dynamic, but understudied border city in east Ukraine today come to grips with a traumatized post-Soviet cultural landscape. Zaharchenko's book examines the works of Serhiy Zhadan, Andrei Krasniashchikh, Yuri Tsaplin, Oleh Kotsarev and others, introducing them as a "doubletake" generation who came of age during the Soviet Union's collapse and as adults revisited this experience in their novels. Filling the space between society and the state, local literary texts have turned into forms of historical memory and agents of political life.
The White Chalk of DaysThe publication of "The White Chalk of Days: The Contemporary Ukrainian Literature Series Anthology" commemorates the tenth year of the Contemporary Ukrainian Literature Series. Co-sponsored by the Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University and the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Series has recurrently organized readings in the US for Ukraine's leading writers since 2008. The anthology presents translations of literary works by Series guests that imaginatively engage pivotal issues in today's Ukraine and express its tribulations and jubilations. Featuring poetry, fiction, and essays by fifteen Ukrainian writers, the anthology offers English-language readers a wide array of the most beguiling literature written in Ukraine in the past fifty years.