Ljubko Deresch

Intent! Or the Mirror of Death - Novel

Original Ukrainian title: Намір! Published by Duliby, Kiew, 2006
(German title: Intent!)
ca. 319 pages
Ljubko Deresch
Foto: Ljubko Deresch
© Ekko von Schwichow

Ljubko Deresch, born in 1984, studied economics in Lviv. His novels Kult (Cult) and Die Anbetung der Eidechse (Worshipping the Lizard) have appeared in Germany in edition suhrkamp.

Selected previous publications:
Архе (Arche). Novel. Ukrainian original edition published by Calvaria, 2005. Foreign language publications: Germany (Suhrkamp), Poland (Proszynski i S-ka)
Поклоніння ящірці. Як нищити ангелів (Workshipping the Lizard) Novel. Ukrainian original edition published by Calvaria, 2004. Foreign language publications: Germany (Suhrkamp, 2006)
Культ (Kult) Novel. Ukrainian original edition published by Calvaria, 2002. Foreign language publications: Germany (Suhrkamp, 2005), France (Stock), Italy (Fazi), Serbia (Narodna Knjiga-Alfa)

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Ljubko Deresch is viewed as a foremost representative of post-Soviet Ukrainian literature alongside Yuri Andrukhovych and Serhiy Zhadan. In his novels he describes life in the fictive Carpathian town of Midni Buky with warring youth gangs, drug-taking excesses, and the gradual encroachment of Western pop culture. Many reviewers already see him as a literary heir to H. P. Lovecraft, Ambrose Bierce or Edgar Allen Poe.

Petro Piatochkin discovers his phenomenal memory when still a schoolboy. One glance at a book suffices to memorize the subject-matter. His bizarre talent makes him an outsider, an oddball who immerses himself in academic tomes about time and consciousness. After conducting experiments on himself, he realizes he is able to recall events he cannot possibly have experienced. During a visit to »Café Kosmos«, the Russian bookshop in Lemberg, Petro meets a young abstract painter from Montreal. Bearing titles like »Misted Mirror« or »Intent!«, her paintings seem to him like symbols of his own »memory art«. He believes he discerns in her works an ability matching his own to see parallel worlds. And so begins a passionate love affair…


»As the suspense of the story mounts all the way to the showdown in the school basement, the more bizarre becomes the mixture of literary and pop-cultural set pieces, the more breathtaking the audacity with which Deresch fuses citations of education with esoterics, trash and elements of splatter to form a grand literary syncretism.« Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»Daring, playfulness and satirical delight [...] literary skill in producing atmosphere and intensity, tender sounds and strikingly drawn characters.« Literaturen

»Since the appearance of Cult, a boarding-school tale as fantastic as it was drastic, Ljubko Deresch has been viewed as the ‘literary Wunderkind’ of a lost generation – and not just in his Ukrainian homeland.« Profil

»In his novels, Deresch finds a tone of his own that is symptomatic of the new beginning made by Ukrainian literature in the 21st century. He liberates writing from the fixation on nationalist concerns, and mocks the anti-Russian conspiracy theories circulating in his homeland. Even the iconic martyrs of Ukrainian literature figure in Deresch only as yellowing saintly images, long since ousted by the new idols Jack Kerouac, John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen.« Neue Zürcher Zeitung

»Kult is astonishing not just for the virtuosity and linguistic power with which Ljubko Deresch mixes fantastic elements with pop culture, esoterics and world literature. Equally surprising is the fact that the author was not even seventeen when he completed the novel, an achievement that earned him the unloved title of ‘Wunderkind’.« DeutschlandRadio

»His novel is called Cult and promises to acquire the status this title implies. [...] Deresch effortlessly juggles with elements of pop culture, subculture, esoterics and world literature. He is well-versed in them all.« SWR