(Author) (Translator)
& 3 more
Backorder (temporarily out of stock)

Product Details

Yale University Press
Publish Date
5.0 X 7.7 X 0.9 inches | 0.7 pounds
BISAC Categories:

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Serhiy Zhadan, recipient of the 2022 Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought and the 2022 German Peace Prize, is widely considered to be one of the most important young writers in Ukraine. He has received several international literature prizes and has twice won BBC Ukraine's Book of the Year award. His other books include The Orphanage and What We Live For, What We Die For: Selected Poems. Reilly Costigan-Humes lives and works in Moscow, and translates literature from the Ukrainian and Russian. Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler is a translator and poet from New England whose work has appeared in numerous journals. Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps have been translating Ukrainian poetry as a team since 1989 and have received an NEA Translations Fellowship for their work on Zhadan's poetry.


"Mesopotamia shows the dark sides of post-Soviet life in Kharkiv--addiction, tuberculosis, violent death, rampant crime and corruption--but it also celebrates the reckless joy of young, independent Ukraine. Cognac and lemon, absurd nicknames like Alla the Alligator and Vadyk Salmonella, hedonistic summers at bohemian dachas, love and death rolled into one, a booze-soaked multiethnic picaresque."--Sophie Pinkham, New York Review of Books

"Mesopotamia is an impressive collage, less of a city than of its inhabitants, mostly in their twenties and thirties, struggling to make their way through a post-Soviet Ukraine that is still trying to figure itself out."--M.A. Orthofer, Complete Review

"To say that Serhiy Zhadan is a great Ukrainian novelist of whom you might not have heard does not begin to cover it. Serhiy Zhadan is one of the most important creators of European culture at work today. His novels, poems, and songs touch millions. This loving translation is a chance to see Ukraine in terms other than the familiar, but more importantly a chance to allow prose to mend your mind."--Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny

"One of the most astounding novels to come out of modern Ukraine. Mesopotamia is seductive, twisted, brilliant, and fierce. It brings to mind our own fiction from a time when we still felt like we had something to fight for and a chance we could win."--Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure and Absurdistan

"Unlike Joyce's Dublin, the cradle of Zhadan's civilization is a place of refuge for young people fleeing hardscrabble lives in the provinces, and a hardscrabble home for natives buoyed by desire yet adrift amid the flotsam of a spent empire. The men and women in these comic and heartfelt pages endure the dynamic paralysis that comes over those who are all dressed up with nowhere to go. They aspire, struggle, fight, fail, drink, fuck, and then they fight some more. Amid the city's detritus, they refuse to become part of it by continuing to love and dream. There is nothing marginal about them. They insist on being seen, heard, understood. They will charm and madden you. They will haunt your dreams, and you will never forget them."--Askold Melnyczuk, author of House of Widows

"To say that Serhiy Zhadan is a poet, a novelist, a rock star, a protester, a symbol of his country's desire for freedom and change, is to say the truth--but what is truth? Zhadan is a literary master of enormous force. At times he combines the energy of Jack Kerouac and atmospheric spell of Isaac Babel, at other times he is a balladeer of his country's struggle. 'Such strange things have been happening to us, ' he writes, of the streets where 'winters are not like winters / winters live under assumed names.' In Mesopotamia's nine stories and thirty poems we find ourselves in the newly independent Ukraine, stunned by its grit, its rough backbone--and its tenderness. What do we discover here? That 'Light is shaped by darkness / and it's all up to us.' We also discover that Serhiy Zhadan is one of those rare things--almost impossible to find now in the West--a national bard, a chronicler. This is a book to live with."--Ilya Kaminsky

"Zhadan is the rock star of lyrical melancholy, and Mesopotamia is not just a book of short stories but a cosmos with Kharkiv-Babylon at its center. We meet its lovesick citizens at weddings and funerals; their visceral, fantastical lives unfold in the intensely prophetic atmosphere of the upcoming war."-- Valzhyna Mort, author of Factory of Tears