Aug 022003

Andruchowytsch: Perversia

Andruchowytsch: Perversia

und kaum schaut man auf die eben genannte Verlags-Seite, findet sich schon wieder die Ankündigung eines Buches, das ich nicht lesen kann und von dem ich nicht weiß, ob es einmal übersetzt wird…

aber es gibt eine dem Buch dazugehörige Webseite:

Eine Vorstellung auf

Perversion is the third novel by Yuri Andrukhovych, one of the most eminent Ukrainian writers of younger generation. The complex and complicated structure of this book differentiates it from the two previous novels, Recreations and Moscoviada. This time the author set himself a very ambitious task of creating an ambiguous, linguistically sophisticated novel with numerous plots, and he fulfilled it very well. Searching for any literary parallels, we should place Perversion somewhere between The Manuscript Found in Saragossa by Jan Potocki on one hand, and Spanish-American magical realism on the other. Perhaps it is not by chance that the action of the novel is located mostly in Venice, like in Carpentier’s Baroque Concerto. The Baroque, its imagination and literature seem to influence strongly Yuri Andrukhovych’s work, especially in Perversion. Of course, baroque motifs are subject to contemporary, ironic stylization, but they remain the most distinctive stylistic trope. It is indissolubly connected with the novel’s linguistic richness, serving the purpose of presenting unreal, imaginary world, which, however, is not deprived of cultural and political references to the very concrete and contemporary reality.

Perversion is a very odd book, as it appeared in contemporary literature out of nowhere. Of course, Andrukhovych’s talent had showed itself before, but in Perversion it has been accomplished in an astonishing way. We do not know exactly if we read a grotesque, a parody of literature in general, a masqueraded philosophic treatise or a contemporary version of picaresque. But, apart from all these, we find there some very actual, even political motifs, concerning the separation between East and West, between “the third world” and the first one – European or western. It is not for nothing that the hero is an Ukrainian travelling to the West – geographical, but also metaphorical, because he is going towards his own death. But probably the most important clue to this novel, its basic meaning is the fact that the protagonist is a poet. That explains everything. Perversion is a book about the language, about its possibilities and its madness. The magnificent baroque language and dazzling talkativeness reduces the story to a mere pretext, makes all sense insignificant, the very sense of the existence included. Perversion is the victory of literature which transforms death and world simply in words.

Jurij Andruchowycz


aus dem Ukrainischen ins Polnische übersetzt von Ola Hnatiuk und Renata Rusnak

Czarne Verlag, 2003

ISBN 83-87391-77-8