A devastating story of the struggle of civilians caught up in the conflict in eastern Ukraine
“A nightmarish, raw vision of contemporary eastern Ukraine under siege. . . . With a poet’s sense of lyricism . . . [Zhadan] unblinkingly reveals a country’s devastation and its people’s passionate determination to survive.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
If every war needs its master chronicler, Ukraine has Serhiy Zhadan, one of Europe’s most promising novelists. Recalling the brutal landscape of The Road and the wartime storytelling of A Farewell to Arms,The Orphanage is a searing novel that excavates the human collateral damage wrought by the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. When hostile soldiers invade a neighboring city, Pasha, a thirty-five-year-old Ukrainian language teacher, sets out for the orphanage where his nephew Sasha lives, now in occupied territory. Venturing into combat zones, traversing shifting borders, and forging uneasy alliances along the way, Pasha realizes where his true loyalties lie in an increasingly desperate fight to rescue Sasha and bring him home.
Written with a raw intensity, this is a deeply personal account of violence that will be remembered as the definitive novel of the war in Ukraine.
About the Author
Serhiy Zhadan, widely considered to be one of the most important young writers in Ukraine, is the author of Mesopotamia and What We Live For, What We Die For: Selected Poems.Reilly Costigan‑Humes translates literature from the Ukrainian and Russian. Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler is a translator and poet.
“Zhadan presents a nightmarish, raw vision of contemporary eastern Ukraine under siege from Russian-backed separatists. . . . With a poet’s sense of lyricism . . . [Zhadan] unblinkingly reveals a country’s devastation and its people’s passionate determination to survive.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Zhadan captures the grim war-torn city experience very well . . . In its basis in real-life conditions that are so close to us, in time and place, [The Orphanage] serves well as a solid, all-too-close-for-comfort picture of how quickly societal collapse can ripple through even safe-seeming harbors, a reminder of how near such situations might be, to all of us.”—M.A.Orthofer, Complete Review
"A literary master of enormous force."—Ilya Kaminsky
"Serhiy Zhadan is one of the most important creators of European culture at work today."—Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny