Yuri Andrukhovych, born March 13, 1960 in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine is a Ukrainian prose writer, poet, essayist, and translator. Andrukhovych has published novels, poetry collections, a cycle of short stories, and essays, as well as literary translations from English, German, Polish, and Russian. His essays regularly appear in Zerkalo nedeli (Mirror Weekly), an influential trilingual newspaper (published fully in Russian and Ukrainian with excerpts also published in an online English edition). Some of his writings (for example, The Moscoviad and Perverzion) are carried out in a distinct postmodern style.



The girls weren’t too pretty or graceful,
but one said to the other:
‘They offered me a job in the company.
Secretary – chief of department, computer skills required.
A hundred bucks a month – and everyone fucks you’.

A hundred baks a month – I thought to myself.
And everyone fucks you.
Is it a plus or a minus, how to understand it? I wondered.
And in what sense, I thought to myself, in the literal
or maybe in the metaphorical?
And in which sense would it be more beautiful?
The literal? The metaphorical?

It gave me something to think about, and the train
rushed on and the wheels
tapped out stupidly
the one same thing the one same thing:

A hundred bucks a month!
And everyone fucks you!
A hundred bucks a month!
And everyone fucks you!
A hundred bucks a month!
And everyone fucks you!

Translated by Sarah Luczaj





I forget names, particularly in Spanish.
All that’s left is – San Francisco,
L.A., and also, without doubt,
Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Santa Cruz.
I remember those quicker, thanks to soap operas I don’t watch.
But what about the names of roads?
Islands and bays, reservoirs? Prisons?

Great, I think I remember all the names:
Veronica, Natalia (I got it wrong, come back), Natalia,
Veronica, Jaroslaw B.B., then there was that
Russian boy, and, of course, Longin.
And what we drank on the beach
was plum brandy from Croatia –
just the thing for heating up
the inner world, the organs, after splashing in the cold ocean.

We ran into it, as into the night,
we ran along the edge and poured
Croatian plum brandy inside.
Great, I remember it was ‘Slivovice’.
I even remember that it was Croatian.
But what was the ocean called?

And the Chinese guy, whose door
we knocked on twelve minutes
before the gong, before the closing of the gates
that is, the kitchen, certainly didn’t choose
the most beautiful name -
Dragon River – (just imagine those sailing boats
and that monster who beats its tail on the water and breathes fire!) but what
what was next? City Lights? Some crossroads?
Janis Joplin and others?

On the way from Frisco to Palo Alto
we all fell asleep, including Longin.
He was behind the wheel.
The ocean was on the right, the moon above,
life –
like death –

Translated by Sarah Luczaj



Die gleichen Gerüche, die gleichen
Aromakerzen und ähnliche Utensilien:
Glöckchen, Buddhas, New-Age-Schriften,

Ansonsten hinterließen wir alles in bester Ordnung,
es sei denn, die Wirtin hat einige
Flecken auf dem Laken entdeckt.

Wir können das nicht auf reinere Art tun, leider.
Reiner verstünden es die Engel,
doch die - machen keine Liebe.
Reiner geht es nun mal nicht.

Jemand hat gewollt, daß ich nach
siebzehn Monaten wieder hier gelandet bin:
die gleichen Gerüche, die gleichen
Aromakerzen und ähnliche Indien-Accessoires:
Mandala, Kastaneda, Elfenbeinstäbchen, New-Age-

So lang war die Nacht,
so einsam unter der Decke
so trostlos unbefleckt
daß ich alle Chancen hätte
in den Himmel zu kommen.

Doch dort wird keine Liebe gemacht.

© Übersetzung Olaf Kühl




Taras is right when he says:
Alarm clocks should not seduce us in the mornings.
Morning is a time of doubt anyway,
total nostalgia. The worst that could happen.
The necessity to survive the rest of the day somehow
pins you to the bed. Win another half hour.
Consider what you saw.

Considering dreams –
it’s an attempt to bring order to the night adventures,
to give form to the plots, brightness to the pictures.
What really happened? Why the hell
did a drunken Thomas leave dry
excrement under the seat? The sexy nun,
was she demanding something, when she pointed
at me? I still remember the clock.
There was an ocean of time left before departure,
but there was no way of leaving the trailer
crowded with friends. Why not?

It’s much worse, when you go,
with a bunch of flowers,
to visit someone who actually
was killed a month ago, for a celebration evening.
Why the celebration? Another two minutes
and I’ll explain, I’ll chase the nun
I’ll make Thomas
clean up after himself…

Considering dreams
leads to nothing but parallel conclusions:
life passes. The problem of mornings
lies in the fact that they go on and on happening.
Only in dreams, where everything is stupid,
does life look real.
And so, eternal. Win another half hour.

Translated by Sarah Luczaj




Yuri Andrukhovych

Interviewed by Justina Dobush
Translated from the Ukrainian by Yulia Lyubka

Nationalism began to imply some set of manifestations, which in fact go far beyond the bounds of this concept. Nowadays some people try to deal with the problems of the XXI century through the conceptual construct of the XIX century (when the concept of nationalism was born). I believe that today it is better to speak of total xenophobia in its comprehensiveness. It refers not only to the hatred of other nations but to everything else as well: of other views, lifestyles, social groups, age groups, sexes, sexual orientations, cultures, all types of migrants, 'newcomers' or refugees on the one hand and locals, 'cocky' types on the other. As well as to black Africans, white Europeans or Asians, and so on and so forth. Xenophobia is wherever something strange is perceived as hostile or at least menacing.

There are as many forms of nationalism in the world as there are nations. And nationalism is neither good nor bad: everything depends on its specific manifestation, the degree of aggressiveness, openness, closeness, inclusiveness, exclusiveness, imperial or separatist motivations, etc. Nationalisms are immensely varying and therefore interesting for all kinds of comparative analyses. At the same time, xenophobia covers the unequally broader areas of human coexistence and is, in my opinion, a real evil. When we confine our entire versatility of xenophobia to nationalism, we contribute to this evil.

Literature is not to blame for this aggravation of the situation. It cannot exist in any language-free of beyond-the-language material (perhaps only temporarily), i.e. it is destined to be linked with a particular national language. But that is why we have translation: to overcome this narrowness and thereby make "strange" our own, or at least a little closer, symbolically reducing habitats for xenophobia.

Further contributions from Yuri Andrukhovych on Zeitzug


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