A unique work of fiction from the troubled streets of Ukraine, giving invaluable testimony to the new history unfolding in the nation's post-independence years
"One of the most astounding novels to come out of modern Ukraine. Mesopotamia is seductive, twisted, brilliant, and fierce."--Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure and Absurdistan
This captivating book is Serhiy Zhadan's ode to Kharkiv, the traditionally Russian-speaking city in Eastern Ukraine where he makes his home. A leader among Ukrainian post-independence authors, Zhadan employs both prose and poetry to address the disillusionment, complications, and complexities that have marked Ukrainian life in the decades following the Soviet Union's collapse. His novel provides an extraordinary depiction of the lives of working-class Ukrainians struggling against an implacable fate: the road forward seems blocked at every turn by demagogic forces and remnants of the Russian past. Zhadan's nine interconnected stories and accompanying poems are set in a city both representative and unusual, and his characters are simultaneously familiar and strange. Following a kind of magical-realist logic, his stories expose the grit and burden of stalled lives, the universal desire for intimacy, and a wistful realization of the off-kilter and even perverse nature of love.
Serhiy Zhadan has received several international literature prizes and has twice won BBC Ukraine's Book of the Year award. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Reilly Costigan-Humes lives and works in Moscow, and translates literature from the Ukrainian and Russian. Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler is a translator and poet from New England whose work has appeared in numerous journals. Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps have been translating Ukrainian poetry as a team since 1989 and have received an NEA Translations Fellowship for their work on Zhadan's poetry.