"Language - any language - that’s what I would call the capital love of my life: nothing else has the power to synthesize music and myth, two things without which the world would be a totally unlivable place."
Called “the most influential Ukrainian book for the 15 years of independence", Field Work in Ukrainian Sex by Oksana Zabuzhko is the tale of one woman’s personal revolt. It provoked the top literary scandal of the decade.
The author, a noted Ukrainian poet and novelist, explains, “When you turn 30, you inevitably start reconsidering what you have been taught in your formative years - that is, if you really seek for your own voice as a writer. In my case, my personal identity crisis had coincided with the one experienced by my country after the advent of independence. The result turned explosive: Field Work in Ukrainian Sex.
The novel was first published in Ukraine in 1996, unleashing a storm of controversy and propelling the author to national fame. It topped the bestseller list in Ukraine for more than ten years, making it the most successful Ukrainian-language book of the '90s in every regard. Today, Oksana Zabuzhko is one of the few authors in Ukraine (and the only Ukrainian-language writer) to make a living exclusively from her writing.
“Oksana Zabuzhko is a well-known Ukrainian poet of the younger generation as well as a literary critic and translator. Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex, her debut in the genre of the novel, marks the emergence of a powerful new voice in Ukrainian belles-lettres. This work immediately strikes the reader with its novelty of form and with the original way it presents eternal issues like love, life, and creativity, intertwining them with uniquely Ukrainian themes.” (Slavic and East European Journal)
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Intriguing fiction; painful listen
I'm really enthralled with Zabuzhko's words but the aggressive narration has an unrelenting pissed off "slam" quality to it that I've found not only monotonous but weakening to the work in its tone of defensiveness.
I've been trying to listen to the story in spite of the narration, but suspect I'll have to find a text copy of the book in order to experience it with a clear mind.
- Alicia Grega