Serhij Zhadan

Depeche Mode

Original Ukrainian title: Депеш Мод, published in 2004 by Folio, Kharkiv
(German title: Depeche Mode)
ca. 245 pages
Serhij Zhadan
Foto: Serhij Zhadan
© Meridian Czernowitz

Serhij Zhadan was born in 1974 in Starobilsk, near Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, and studied German at Kharkiv University. Since 1991, he has been one of the leading figures on the Kharkiv scene.

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English world rights (Glagoslav), Russia (Amphora), Italy (Castelvecchi), Sweden (2244/Bonniers), Poland (Czarne), Hungary (Europa), Bulgaria (Paradox), Republic of Moldova / Romanian rights (Cartier), Estonia (Loomingu Raamatukogu), Lithuania (Kitos Knygos)


A poet and novelist whose work has been variously compared to Rimbaud, Charles Bukowski and Irvine Welsh, Serhiy Zhadan’s first novel Depeche Mode depicts Ukrainian youth during the turbulent 1990s. Described by the author as »a book about real male comradeship,« the novel follows the unemployed narrator and his friends, Jewish anti-Semite Dogg Pavlov and Vasia the Communist, on their adventures around Kharkiv and beyond.

Against a background of social disintegration, slowly eroding Soviet mores and rapidly encroaching Western culture, the three comrades drink gratuitous amounts of vodka and embark on a quest to find their missing friend Sasha Carburetor to tell him about the suicide of his one-legged stepfather. Despite containing some darker themes, Depeche Mode takes an irreverent look at life; Zhadan is not afraid to mix philosophical musings and grotesque narrative with moments of slapstick comedy.

Serhiy Zhadan is one of the key voices in contemporary Ukrainian literature: his poetry and novels have enjoyed popularity at home and abroad. His poetic style and masterful wordplay have led critics to dub his trademark approach »verbal jazz«, a description that reflects his unique authorial voice. Zhadan stands as a witness to a time of great social change through the eyes of Ukraine’s dispossessed youth. His work explores the changes he has witnessed as a representative of the immediate post-Soviet generation in Ukraine. (book description from the English edition published by Glagoslav Publications)

Other publications

Antenne/Antenna (2020)

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Poland (Wrocławski Dom Literatury), Bulgaria (Paradox)

Internat/The Orphanage (2018)

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English world rights (Yale UP), France (Noir sur Blanc), Italy (Voland), Denmark (Jensen & Dalgaard) Poland (Czarne), Belorussia (Januškevič), Republic of Moldova / Romanian rights (Cartier), Lithuania (Kitos Knygos), Georgia (Intelekti)

Mesopotamien/Mesopotamia (2015)

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English world rights (Yale UP), France (Noir sur Blanc), Italy (Voland), Denmark (Jensen & Dalgaard), Norway (Pax), Poland (Czarne), Georgia (Intelekti)

Die Erfindung des Jazz im Donbass/Voroshilovgrad (2012)

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English world rights (Deep Vellum), Russia (Astrel), Arabic world rights (Here&There), France (Noir sur Blanc), Italy (Voland), Netherlands (De Geus) Poland (Czarne), Hungary (Europa), Bulgaria (Paradox), Republic of Moldova / Romanian rights (Cartier), Latvia (Janis Roze), Slovenia (Beletrina), Belarus (Logvinau), Georgia (Intelekti)

Hymne der demokratischen Jugend/Democratic Youth Anthem (2009)

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Russia (Amphora), Poland (Czarne), Slovakia (Brak), Bulgaria (Paradox)

Anarchy in the UKR/Anarchy in the UKR (2007)

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Russia (Amphora), France (Noir sur Blanc), Sweden (2244/Bonniers), Norway (Pax), Lithuania (Kitos Knygos), Poland (Czarne), Republic of Moldova / Romanian rights (Cartier)