Little Library of Ukraine (8): “Radio of the Night” by Yuri Andrukhovich.
Two really found each other, Rotsky, Josip Rotsky and the radio, the moderator and his long night in front of the microphone. Also couple Rotsky and his raven, Edgar, human and animal are inseparable, also because the bird behaves and thinks like a human. Several pairs in this novel, between people of flesh and blood and more artificial creatures – in the first word, Rotsky’s voice opening his night broadcast was: “If God is our Father, then Satan is our friend in the bosom.” A word – or just a quick word from a radio announcer, a word with a high spirit, so that listeners won’t fall asleep for the next few hours?
Today “Radio Night” Yuri Andrukhovich is on the air: a novel about the period, as well as a distorted picture, of shocking despair, and at the same time a model of the culture of laughter. Because the word becomes a joke, he always has the last word, with which the author, born in 1960 in Ivano-Frankivsk in western Ukraine, builds on all that he has mastered as a hero of postmodernism. Andrukhowytsch turns up the heat just like his radio man Rotsky, just as in his debut, 1992, in his novel “Karpatenkarneval”, which was only published in German three years ago. Crazy book again, beginning with the character of Rutsky, frankly a “pretentious hybrid” of the names of the Russian Nobel Prize laureate for literature Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996) and the immeasurably talented Joseph Roth (1894-1939). Doesn’t the ruthless revolutionary Leon Trotsky also play a role? Inevitable – but why?
Perhaps because of the sedition activities of Rutsky, accused of assassinating the “penultimate dictator”. In a roundabout way, because that’s what the novel is about, we learn that this Rutsky sat on the parapet in his capital during the turbulent days to play the piano. revolutionary? Completely far from such thoughts, obsessed with his music alone, because it alone guarantees the essence of the revolution, he finds himself in prison and meets fellow prisoner Jeffrey Sobotnik, whose name contains the three letters “bot”. Very clear – ridiculous.
If this creature had something artificial, even if Rotsky soon made a pair on the piano with the giant financial fraud Subbotnik, with four hands, and entered into a conversation with him about his fabulous fortune, stored in a deposit, secured insanely multi-digit code. It is important to store it in your head, while still the most secure storage medium in an all-digital world has become one death for its users. Fantasy can no longer be differentiated from reality, reality or illusion: a very stressful coupling. Just like the disparate pair par excellence: God is the judge of all his creatures, and Satan is their advocate.
It focuses on Rotsky and his most enduring lover, Anima, the anime later dubbed Anime, the animation? Apparently a child from the “slums” of the Carpathians, freed from the clutches of an agent reminiscent of Pedi Gaga, she greatly encourages her savior Rutsky, also because of her third eye, a tattoo between her breasts. Rutsky has a very committed sexual relationship with her. It is not an exaggeration to say that they are not only nocturnal, but also have permanent sex, especially fleeing through Europe, which Rutsky considers an “office of sex.”
The novel, in many respects a carnival of taboo, and at the same time a masquerade on my own, is a great satire: “I love our escape, Rutsky has gone so far as to write a free monologue.” Depth: “The only thing clearly detailed were the elements of speech for the mother’s curses, and because the rules of communication in the vicinity of their home state that every second word is an expletive, the expression of what was said was leveled.”
ukraine small library, They are not laid out chronologically, nor are they systematically compiled, intended as a presentation of guidance. Based on the assumption that locations, whether remote or foreign, can be visited through books from anywhere in the world. The point here: your four walls. It has a compass set for trips through history and stories.
Yuri Andrukhovich: Radio Night. a novel. Translated by Sabine Storr from the Ukrainian. Suhrkamp Verlag 2022. 480 pages, €26.
Already on the shelf: The song of Igor (July 23), “Front Line” by Serhiy Bloki (July 30) and Katya Petrovskaya “Maybe Esther” (August 6), “The City” by Valerian Pidmohilning (August 13), “Fairy Tales from the Air by Alexei Chuba” – a frightened shelter ( August 20), the film “Tevye, the Milkman” by Shulam Aleshem (August 27) and Oksana Zabushko’s “Sisters” (September 3).
ninth book It will be “Cossacks” by Andreas Kappeler.
It was described by Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975) as being a bit of a carnival in literature, distorting the world to make it known by making it ridiculous. Readers are taken through a strange and absurd world. Animating or participating in the plot of the novel, they not only follow Rutsky’s erratic way of life through a labyrinth of episodes, but also through one of the indicators. Edgar the Raven was his constant companion on “Radio Nacht” until its tragic end–among many references, including once, so Jorge Luis Borges’ name is most conspicuous, in reference to Edgar Allen Poe, his namesake poem” the crow”.
Three or four times, quite incidentally, it is said that Russian is only an “former language”. The word Ukraine does not appear once in the novel, but it is ubiquitous. Amid the demonstrations in the capital, which is known as “Postova Square”, has become the scene of a “bloody escape” under the attacks of “squadrons” and “police gang”, the unnamed country is described as a “girl” of democracy – not the only blow in Sabine Storr’s translation .
The novel takes you to the place – fictional – a unicorn, somewhere in the Carpathians, takes you into unnatural homes, and allows you to look at vaulted cellars that have been used in a variety of ways over many centuries of history, as a torture cellar or a wine cellar, as a brothel or disco. Metamorphoses define the course of the story, just like the course of the novel, with reversals, brute pans, and insane voltages. Taken in the plot of the novel is a very flat play, which, too, is still subject to rigorous evaluation, not unlike the completely absurd poems of the poets of the very comic “Carpathian Carnival”.
Evidence indicates that Rutsky was involved in the “mysterious liquidation of the penultimate dictator”. Involved in egg tossing resulted in death of stupor. The faster the escape, the more intense it is to navigate scenes that read like a public account with trash all over the place. A showdown in action cinematic style, farewell in telenovela style. The escape leads to a world not from global warming, but from “hell”. She leads through a dystopia in which “order” and “the mob” are life-threatening terrorist structures. Two find each other, state and private, trying to kill Rutsky.
Part of this novel’s carnival is that events and experiences run toward the frontier where everything, absolutely everything, turns into its opposite. And also in a transitional phase that will never end until forever. If the “Carpathian Carnival”, the debut of Andrukhovich in 1992, was really called an iconoclasm, then Radio Nakht is a fad of an absurd world, one of the plot stories, where reality is just a joke. From the ground up the same words.