Friday, 30 May 2014
Back to Ukraine
About two or three years ago I had it in mind to write a novel that would be (as usual) a thread of historical and contemporary storylines. An elderly Ukrainian living in Britain with a dark wartime secret. I gave up on it because it was so hard to uncover material about the Ukraine in the thirties and forties. The battles were described, of course. And the deaths. But it seemed that every single person who may have written down what everyday life was like in Ukraine in the period had been murdered/starved/deported or pressed into either the Fascist or Communist armies and militias. A country's culture is very certainly not that of the middle classes alone, but when those people have ... gone, it's hard to to written accounts. I simply thought that the subject was too difficult. In the last six months, of course, it's become very topical again, that historical split in the Ukraine, half of which looks west towards Poland and the EU, and the other part which looks east to Russia. I may have to start working on it, after all . . . Just need to track down some good accounts written by Ukrainian people in English or even German, which I can just about manage with my old German A level.