The tale of a poet's tragicomic last days in Venica; What was the fate of Stanislav Perfetsky - poet, provocateur, and hero of Ukrainian underground culture? Certain evidence points to suicide. But some whisper murder. Some suggest the grand Eastern European tradition of coerced suicide. It may be related to the religious cult ceremony he unluckily happened upon in Munich...or that job as a dancer in a strip club for older women. Or, then again, it may not. Perverzion reconstructs Perfetsky's final days using a mishmash of relics, from official documents to recorded interviews to scraps of paper. Perfetsky, the personification of the Ukrainian artistic superman (for example, he plays countless musical instruments so well he collaborated with Elton John during the star's secret sojourn in Ukraine), is bound for Venice to participate in a seminar to save the world from its absurdity. On the way he becomes a Ukrainian Orpheus, descending into the sophisticated decadence of the West, navigating through surrealistic adventures and no less surrealistic seminar topics as he charges head up (and pants down) toward his fate. A work of sly, subversive humor and fantastic wordplay, Perverzion is a look into the new Ukraine's post-Soviet literary culture by one of the country's fore-most contemporary writers.
Yuri Andrukhovych was born in 1960 in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. He is the author of numerous short stories and three volumes of poetry, and currently co-edits the journal Thursday. His other books include Recreations. Michael M. Naydan is a professor of Slavic languages and literatures at Penn State University. He is the coeditor of From Three Worlds: New Writing from Ukraine and translator of The Complete Early Poetry Collections of Pavlo Tychyna. With Slava I. Yastremski, he has translated Marina Tsvetaeva's After Russia and Igor Klekh's A Land the Size of Binoculars, also published by Northwestern University Press.