On May 1, Kharkiv Literary Museum visitors participated in the Carnival with the special dress code in the style of the late 30’s. Pirozhki (stuffed buns) and toy hedgehog – that was the format organizers chose for the presentation of the novel Kharkiv 1938 created by prominent Ukrainian writer and translator Oleksandr Irvanets in the genre of alternative history.
The visitors got a chance to hear some excerpts from the novel performed by the author and students from theater department of Kharkiv National University of Arts Herman Medvedev and Vladislav Pisarev.
The action of the spy thriller takes place in spring of “alternative” 1938. Kotsyuba, SBU (Security Service of Ukraine – KhO) Colonel, at all costs should defend the young state from a mysterious saboteur.
“The book’s cover contains the emblem with URSR lettering. However, instead of a sickle and a hammer, as you can see, it has a trident (the coat of arms of modern Ukraine – KhO).
“Why 1938? Because 1939 is the beginning of World War II. Why URSR? Because the official name of the state is the Ukrainian working rural republic, not Soviet, not socialist one. The republic is not included in the Soviet Union, and its capital is Kharkiv,” said the author.
“I have visited this city several times, I know its center. The plays that I translated from Polish were staged in Taras Shevchenko Academic Ukrainian Drama Theater. That is why I described Sumska Street and some adjacent streets in the book. And real Kharkiv is beautiful too. A difference between real and fictional Kharkiv is the same as between Jerusalem and Heavenly Jerusalem. The city I showed is the capital of good, strong, and powerful Ukraine.”
Text: Victoria Sklyarova
Photo: Artem Konovalov