by Serhiy Zhadan


Fiction from Deep Vellum Publishing

Easy Rider meets Pedro Páramo in this darkly funny, fast-paced road novel that barrels through eastern Ukraine’s ravaged industrial landscape.

SKU: 133 Category:


Paperback ISBN:978-1-941920-30-5
Ebook ISBN:978-1-941920-31-2

Deep Vellum Publishing
Publication Date:
May 24, 2016

Translated from the Ukranian by Isaac Wheeler and Reilly Costigan-Humes

A city-dwelling advertising executive heads home to take over his brother’s gas station after he mysteriously disappears, but all he finds at home are mysteries and ghosts. The industrial landscape of now-war-torn eastern Ukraine sets the stage for Voroshilovgrad, mixing magical realism and exhilarating road novel in the poetic, expressive prose that marks Ukrainian literary rockstar Serhiy Zhadan’s vivacious style.

Winner of BBC Ukraine’s Book of the Decade award in December 2014

Winner of the prestigious Jan Michalski Prize for Literature, awarded in Germany, in 2014

Check out a generous sample of this novel in Trafika Europe 7


Voroshilovgrad is an unsentimental novel about human relationships in conditions of brutality in which there is not a single act of betrayal… In his prose there is no nostalgia, but there is genuine affection, rough and profound. Even in this brutish habitus, there is trust, loyalty, and love.” — Marci Shore, The New Yorker

Voroshilovgrad is more, however, than an exercise in post-Soviet social realism. There is something deeply mythological about the novel, and, like many myths, it is a story of homecoming. . . . Zhadan’s language is suitably elastic, swinging from the tough, streetwise irony of a Ukrainian Irvine Welsh to flights of ebullient poetry more reminiscent of Bruno Schulz.” — Uilleam Blacker, Times Literary Supplement

“Poetic portrait of a no-place, which emerges in layers of memories, dreams, and longings. Zhadan has created an authentic poetics of post–Soviet rural devastation. Voroshilovgrad makes clear how unsurprising the ensuing confrontation in the Donbass should be.” — Amelia Glaser, Los Angeles Review of Books

“The power source of Zhadan’s writing is in its linguistic passion.” — Die Zeit

“One of the most important creative forces in modern Ukrainian alternative culture . . . He writes desolately, brashly, deliriously, associatively, cleverly and with laugh-out-loud humor and great empathy for his characters. […] A book between Charles Bukowski, the Sex Pistols and the also-rans poetry of Aki Kaurismäkis.” — KulturSpiegel on Depeche Mode

“[Zhadan] is a writer who is a rock star, like Byron in the early nineteenth century was a rock star.” — Dr. Vitaly Chernetsky, professor of Slavic Literature at the University of Kansas, in The New Yorker

“A homecoming is by turns magical and brutal in Zhadan’s impressive picaresque novel. . . . But Herman’s occasionally absurdist, reliably funny world is also deeply violent: corn farmers war with the locals, and an anonymous, bloodstained businessman hints darkly at the future awaiting the region. For Zhadan, loyalty and fraternity are the life-giving forces in this exhausted, fertile, near-anarchic corner of the country, and though his expansive imagination and rich lyricism contrast unfortunately with his stereotypical female characters, readers will be touched by his devotion to a land of haunted beauty, ‘high sky,’ and ‘black earth.’” — Publishers Weekly

“Zhadan’s prose is so poetic, his free verse so prosaic. It is difficult to assign a genre to his work: memoir, travelogue, timely or untimely meditation — or a mixture of all these, centered on the themes my generation and our epoch.” — Rostislav Melnikov and Yuriy Tsaplin, The New Literary Review

“Zhadan’s canvas is large and is filled with bold characters… [he] also tosses into the mix fantastic and surreal flights of prose; poetic descriptions of the still-beautiful parts of the Ukraine, with its rich, black, enduring earth.” — Willard Manus, Lively Arts

“There is no summarizing the spicy, hot, sweet, vicious improvisations of Serhiy Zhadan – this is verbal jazz.” — Kirill Ankudinov, Vzglyad.ru

“Zhadan’s language is wild and powerful. The rhythm structuring his endless sentences demonstrates his beginnings as a poet.” — Jutta Lindekugel, World Literature Today

“…a literary Odyssey, a roaming adventure through the crumbling town of Voroshilovgrad and its surroundings in the post-Soviet period.” — The Bookbinder’s Daughter

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