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Yuri Andrukhovych's novel Perverzion is an interesting piece of writing that is regarded post-modern literature in Ukraine. The premise of the book centres around the tragicomic final days of Stanislav Perfetsky, who inexplicably vanished in Venice. Perfetsky, a poet and agitator of Ukrainian culture, died while attending a conference in Venice. The death of Perfetsky creates a mystery in the narrative due to the various arguments provided that attempt to solve the puzzle behind Perfetsky's death. Some say that his death was the consequence of suicide, while other evidence suggests that he may have committed suicide. Other people even say that his death could have resulted from a job that he was doing as a dancer in a strip club that targeted older women as its customers. The mystery towards his death widens when it is argued that it could have been orchestrated by demonic powers. Demonic agencies had organized the conference attended by Perfetsky in Venice, and at some instance in the novel, the author narrates about a religious ceremony where terrestrial powers were being transferred from one chief demon to another. Yuri Andrukhovych does a great job in writing the novel as he tries to reconstruct the last days of Perfetsky to enable him understand the root cause of Perfetsky’s untimely death.
There are many things that I like about this novel, and I would say that Yuri Andrukhovych did a great job while writing this book. Firstly, the novel is comprised of several narratives which include videotapes, computer files, audiotapes, third-person observations, as well as first-person accounts. These narratives play a crucial role in enhancing the understanding of the novel and at the same making it more interesting. Secondly, I like the fact that the novel contains aspects of picaresque as well as travelogue traditions which sheds more light on the Ukrainian underground culture. The novel outlines Perfetsky’s journey from Ukraine to Venice where many exciting escapades are encountered. Additionally, the novel contains funny scenes and set pieces which offer easy understanding, satisfaction, and at the same time expounding more on some themes in the novel. For instance, the concept of love is evident in one of the scenes where Perfetsky falls in love with Ada who had been initially hired to spy on him by Monsignore. In fact, Ada abandons her mission of spying on Perfetsky and in turn becomes his protector. This scene brings us to a fascinating quote in the novel which highlights the necessity of love for one another. Perfetsky, in one of his lectures, says that “only love can save us from death.” He uses this quote to argue out that the absurdities in the world begin at the point where love ends. Finally, I like the aspect that the book is comprised of polished fragments which have been published in other journals which are a great delight to read.
However, there are some aspects I dislike in this novel by Yuri Andrukhovych. For instance, the book has several linguistic as well as stylistic complexities which make it difficult for the translator to interpret the text to an Anglophone audience accurately. Moreover, about two-thirds of the book appears to be a rough draft which certainly received little attention from the editorial staff.
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