Juri Andruchowytsch

Moscoviada - Novel

Original Ukrainian title: Московіада, published in 1993 by Lileya
(German title: Moscoviada)
ca. 240 pages
Juri Andruchowytsch
Foto: Juri Andruchowytsch
© Susanne Schleyer

Juri Andruchowytsch was born in 1960 in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. He is considered the leading contemporary Ukrainian writer. He writes poems, prose, essays and translates from German and Polish.

Awards (selection):
Leipziger Buchpreis zur Europäischen Verständigung 2006
Sonderpreis des Erich-Maria-Remarque-Friedenspreises 2005

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USA (Spuyten Duyvil), Spanish world rights (Quaderns Crema), Russia (New Literary Review), France (Noir sur Blanc), Italy (Besa Editrice), Poland (Czarne), Czech Republic (FRA), Slovak Republic (Kalligram), Hungary (Gondolat), Bulgaria (Paradox), Romania (Allfa), Macedonia (Makedonska Rech), Belarus (ARCHE), Georgia (Bakur Sulakauri)


Moscoviada, Andruchowytsch’s most successful book, translated into many languages, was written in Spring 1992 on the banks of Lake Starnberg outside Munich – and is surprisingly topical today.

Neo-authoritarian Russia, strident nationalism, the mystification of the Communist era, chauvinist kitsch, ideological pressures – all these ghosts are sent packing in a Carnevalesque spectacle and amidst panic-filled laughter.

Otto von F., a student of literature from the West Ukraine, lives in Moscow, that »rotten heart of a half-dead empire«. In the students residence of the renowned Gorki Institute, the poetic hopes from the Soviet provinces sit together, the future representatives of young national bodies of literature, composing Medieval Yiddish poems, Ukrainian verses, and stanzas for Uzbek songs. We are in the early 1990s, the mood is agitated, and vodka is running short. Otto von F. senses quite physically that all the seams are about to tear, that the countries and peoples, each a cosmos or continent of its own, are fast drifting apart.

One wet May day he sets out to buy gifts in »Children’s World«, directly adjacent to the KGB’s Lubjanka prison. His mind befuddled by alcohol he takes the wrong entrance, gets lost in countless corridors and stairwells, and ends up in the tunnels with the sewers. He finally lands in the hands of the secret service men, who in the depths of the building are breeding an army of rats. What happens to Otto von F. in the catacombs under the Kremlin, on the tracks of the secret government subway, is something we are told by Juri Andruchowytsch, his Vrigil through Moscow’s hell, who at some point puts a merciful end to the ghastly specter and gets Otto von F. on a train back to Kiev.

Other publications

Kleines Lexikon intimer Städte/Small Encyclopedia of Intimate Cities (2016)

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France (Noir sur Blanc), Croatia (Fraktura)

Perversion/Perversion (2011)

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USA (Northwestern UP), Spain (Quaderns Crema/El Acantilado), France (Noir sur Blanc), Russia (NLO), Finland (Loki Kirjat), Poland (Czarne), Bulgaria (Paradox), Serbia (Clio)

Geheimnis/Secret (2008)

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Zwölf Ringe/Twelve rings (2005)

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English world rights (Spuyten Duyvil), Spanish world rights (Quaderns Crema/El Acantilado), France (Noir sur Blanc), Poland (Czarne), Hungary (Gondolat), Bulgaria (Paradox), Romania (RAO), Lithuania (Lithuanian Writers), Croatia (Fraktura), Serbia ("Filip Visnjic")

Mein Europa/My Europe (2004)

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Spanish world rights (Quaderns Crema/El Acantilado), France (Noir sur Blanc), Italy (print edition Mimesis / digital edition GoWare), Poland (Wydawictwo Czarne), Czech Republic (Periplum), Hungary (Kijarat), Bulgaria (Lektura), Romania (Polirom), Croatia (Fraktura)

Das letzte Territorium/The Last Territory (2003)

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Spanish world rights (Quaderns Crema/El Acantilado), Hungary (Racio)