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To my mind Maria Matios’ Sweet Darusya is the best contemporary Ukrainian novel written since Ukrainian Independence in 1991. It reveals a family saga that is much more dynamic than classical sagas and at the same time is much more touching and engaging. It is an emotional history of Ukraine with a very well researched and vivid historical background that gives the reader the opportunity to understand not only the characters and their drama, but the entire drama of the country/countries in which they lived without leaving their village.
Maria Matios with her novel Sweet Darusya has boldly and strongly tossed political caution and public taboos to the wind -- and at her own risk has taken us on a cruel journey into our bloody, and no less cruel, historical hell, into the abyss, where it is terrifying to peer.
Ecstatic reactions, many awards, and the large number of readers are tied to its vivid, rich, but almost never sweet language, thanks to which the old world of a Ukrainian village blooms and begins a new life.
Uli Hufen, Westdeutscher Rundfunk / Germany
With Sweet Darusya, Maria Matios constructs a refined literary monument to the victims of fickle history.
Gerhard Zellinger, Die Presse / Austria
A disquieting novel.
Lieselotte Stalzer, Buchhandlung beim Augarten
A heartrending, fantastic book from the land next to the Romanian-Ukrainian border.
Dorothea Trottenberg, ekz bibliotheksservice
This is a chronicle of Soviet tyranny in Ukraine.
Vasyl Kapkan, the Lithuanian translator of Sweet Darusya
Maria Matios (Марія Матіос; born 19 December 1959) is a Ukrainian poet, novelist and government official. She was born in the village of Roztoky in the Bukovina region, and presently resides in Kyiv. She authored 19 volumes of fiction and poetry, including the novel Sweet Darusya (2003), and the collections of stories titled The Short Life (2001) and Nation (2002). Her prose works have been translated into Russian, Polish, English, Serbian, French, Italian, Hebrew, Croatian, and Belorussian. Matios’ novel Hardly Ever Otherwise has appeared in Yury Tkacz’s English translation with Glagoslav Publishers.
Her first poems were published when she was fifteen years old. In 1992 she published her first prose in Kyiv Magazine. Maria Matios bases her books on the unique experiences of her family, whose roots go back as far as 1790. She was the winner of the “Book of the Year 2004” prize and of the Taras Shevchenko National Award in 2005 (for her novel Sweet Darusya).
In the 2014 Ukrainian election Matios was re-elected as a deputy in the Ukrainian parliament as a member of Vitaly Klitshchko’s UDAR Party.
Michael Naydan is Woskob Family Professor of Ukrainian Studies at The Pennsylvania State University and works primarily in the fields of Ukrainian and Russian literature and literary translation. He received his BA and MA degrees from The American University and his Ph.D. from Columbia University. He has published over 50 articles on literary topics and more than 80 translations in journals and anthologies. Of his more than 40 books of published and edited translations, some of his most recent include Nikolai Gumilev’s Africa (Glagoslav Publishers, 2018); Yuri Andrukhovych’s cultural and literary essays, My Final Territory: Selected Essays (University of Toronto Press, 2018); and Abram Terz’s literary essays, Strolls with Pushkin and Journey to the River Black (Columbia University Press, 2016).
In 2017 he published his literary essays in Ukrainian translation in the volume, From Gogol to Andrukhovych: Selected Literary Essays (Piramida Publishers). He has also published a novel about the city of Lviv Seven Signs of the Lion (Glagoslav Publishers, 2016), which also appeared in 2017 in Marianna Prokopovych’s Ukrainian translation under the title Sim znakiv leva (Piramida Publishers). He has received numerous prizes for his translations including the George S.N. Luckyj Award in Ukrainian Literature Translation from the Canadian Foundation for Ukrainian Studies in 2013.
Olha Tytarenko received her BA and MA in English from Ivan Franko National University in Lviv, Ukraine, her MA from The Pennsylvania State University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto with a specialty in Russian literature. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Practice of Russian at the University of Nebraska. With Michael Naydan she has co-translated Iren Rozdobudko’s novel The Lost Button (Glagoslav Publishers), Abram Terz’s Strolls with Pushkin and Journey to the River Black (Columbia University Press), Maria Matios’ novel Sweet Darusya: A Tale of Two Villages, and Yuri Vynnychuk’s novel Tango of Death (the latter two with Spuyten Duyvil).