New from HURI: Books by Stanislav Aseyev and Volodymyr Rafeyenko

March 10, 2022
New from HURI: Books by Stanislav Aseyev and Volodymyr Rafeyenko

HURI is pleased to announce the release of its first two books in the new Harvard Library of Ukrainian Literature series, which makes noteworthy works of Ukrainian literature available in English mockups for in isolation and mondegreen

These books are now available in paperback and e-book formats, with hardcover copies coming at a later date. Both are poignant texts at a time when Russia is waging war against Ukraine at a scale previously unimaginable. 

In Isolation: Dispatches from Occupied Donbas by Stanislav Aseyev presents the acclaimed journalist's dispatches from occupied Donbas in the years of war leading up to Russia's full-scale invasion in 2022. He examines the efficacy of Russian propaganda and details changes that he observed in the cities of Makiïvka and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. Focusing on the events of 2015-2017, the book ends with the author's arrest and subsequent imprisonment and torture for the information he disclosed in these dispatches. Aseyev won the National Shevchenko Prize for this book.

Mondegreen: Songs about Love and Death by Volodymyr Rafeyenko is a fictional masterpiece that tells the story of an internally displaced person who fled the war in the Donbas to take refuge in Kyiv. As we know now, many real-life refugees like the fictional Haba Habinsky are yet again displaced as they leave cities like Kyiv, now assaulted by Russian bombs, tanks, and guns, to seek safety in western Ukraine or bordering countries. Rafeyenko's book explores Ukrainian identity and its relationship to language and memory -- as well as its transformation over time.

Both books are available for purchase in paperback on the Harvard University Press website. Readers can also purchase or rent e-book copies on the HURI Books website.

About In Isolation: Dispatches from Occupied Donbas

Aseyev In Isolation book cover by Stanislav Aseyev, translated by Lidia Wolanskyj

Harvard Library of Ukrainian Literature Vol. 1 
ISBN 9780674268784 (hardcover),
9780674268791 (paperback),
9780674268814 (epub),
9780674268807 (PDF)
320 pages | 43 photos, 2 maps
$19.95 • £15.95 • €18.00 paperback | $17.90 ebook | $15.90 3-month ebook rental

In this exceptional collection of dispatches from occupied Donbas, writer and journalist Stanislav Aseyev details the internal and external changes observed in the cities of Makiïvka and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. Aseyev scrutinizes his immediate environment and questions himself in an attempt to understand the reasons behind the success of Russian propaganda among the working-class residents of the industrial region of Donbas. 

In this work of documentary prose, Aseyev focuses on the early period of the Russian-sponsored military aggression in Ukraine’s east, the period of 2015–2017. The author's testimony ends with his arrest for publishing his dispatches and his subsequent imprisonment and torture in a modern-day concentration camp on the outskirts of Donetsk run by lawless mercenaries and local militants with the tacit approval and support of Moscow. For the first time, an inside account is presented here of the toll on real human lives and civic freedoms that the citizens of Europe’s largest country continue to suffer in Russia's hybrid war on its territory.

Learn more and order your copy.

About the Author

Stanislav Aseyev is a Donetsk-born Ukrainian writer and journalist. He is the author of a collection of poetry, a play, and a novel. Under the penname Stanislav Vasin, he published short reports in Ukrainian press about the situation on the ground following the outbreak of Russian-sponsored military hostilities in Donbas. Arrested and unlawfully imprisoned by separatist militia forces for “extremism” and “spying,” Aseyev was held captive and subjected to mistreatment and intermittent torture for over two and a half years.

About Mondegreen: Songs about Love and Death

Rafeyenko Mondegreen book coverby Volodymyr Rafeyenko, translated and introduced by Mark Andryczyk

Harvard Library of Ukrainian Literature Vol. 2
200 pages
ISBN 9780674275577 (hardcover), 
9780674271708 (paperback),
9780674271746 (epub),
9780674271760 (PDF)
$19.95 • £15.95 • €18.00 paperback | $17.95 ebook | $15.95 3-month ebook rental

A mondegreen is something that is heard improperly by someone who then clings to that misinterpretation as fact. Fittingly, Volodymyr Rafeyenko’s novel Mondegreen: Songs about Death and Love explores the ways that memory and language construct our identity, and how we hold on to it no matter what. The novel tells the story of Haba Habinsky, a refugee from Ukraine’s Donbas region, who has escaped to the capital city of Kyiv at the onset of the Ukrainian-Russian war. His physical dislocation—and his subsequent willful adoption of the Ukrainian language—place the protagonist in a state of disorientation during which he is forced to challenge his convictions. Written in a beautiful, experimental style, the novel shows how people—and cities—are capable of radical transformation and how this, in turn, affects their interpersonal relations and cultural identification. Taking on crucial topics stirred by Russian aggression that began in 2014, the novel stands out for the innovative and probing manner in which it dissects them, while providing a fresh Donbas perspective on Ukrainian identity.

Learn more and order your copy.

About the Author

Volodymyr Rafeyenko is an award-winning Ukrainian writer, poet, translator, literary and film critic. Having graduated from the Donetsk University with a degree in Russian philology and culture studies, he wrote and published entirely in Russian. Following the outbreak of the Russian aggression in Ukraine’s east, Rafeyenko left Donetsk and moved to a town near Kyiv where he wrote Mondegreen: Songs about Death and Love, his first novel in the Ukrainian language, which was shortlisted for the Taras Shevchenko National Prize, Ukraine’s highest award in arts and culture. Among other recognitions, he is the winner of the Volodymyr Korolenko Prize for the novel Brief Farewell Book (1999) and the Visegrad Eastern Partnership Literary Award for the novel The Length of Days (2017). 

With thanks to...

Publication of In Isolation and Mondegreen was made possible by the Ukrainian Research Institute Fund and the generous support of publications in Ukrainian studies at Harvard University by the following benefactors:

Ostap and Ursula Balaban
Jaroslaw and Olha Duzey
Vladimir Jurkowsky
Myroslav and Irene Koltunik
Damian Korduba Family
Peter and Emily Kulyk
Irena Lubchak
Dr. Evhen Omelsky
Eugene and Nila Steckiw
Dr. Omeljan and Iryna Wolynec
Wasyl and Natalia Yerega

The translation of In Isolation was prepared, in part, within the PEN Ukraine Translation Fund Grants program in cooperation with the International Renaissance Foundation. Publication of this book was made possible, in part, by a translation grant from the Peterson Literary Fund at BCU Foundation (Toronto, Canada). Cover image by Wolfgang Neusser/Abigail Ogilvy Gallery. Commentary in the editorial notes and the timeline of events by Oleh Kotsyuba, edited by Michelle R. Viise. Maps by Kostyantyn Bondarenko, MAPA: Digital Atlas of Ukraine, Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University,

The purchase of rights and preparation of translation of Mondegreen were also supported by generous contributions from individual donors through a crowdfunding campaign organized by Razom for Ukraine (United States). Publication of this book was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Harriman Institute, Columbia University.

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