A Stranger in a Strange Land
Yurii Andrukhovych in conversation with Erlend Loe
“This is the city of a thousand and one torture chambers”
A young Ukrainian writer finds himself in a university dormitory in Moscow in the days following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Poets from all corners of the continent are gathered in a kind of Grand Hotel for the downtrodden and the eccentric, where they drink, gamble and venture out into the streets looking for a good story to tell. The sprawling capital appears as the lawless centre of a lapsed regime, where nationalist forces conspire to gain power. Here, the Ukrainian embarks on a Dantian journey to the innermost circles of Hell, where Hell is Moscow and Moscow is burning up.
The Moscoviad is a genre-bending novel, full of gallows humour, political speeches and tirades. Since his debut in 1985, author Yurii Andrukhovych has been one of Ukraine’s leading literary voices, and was early in depicting Russia’s growing neo-imperialist tendencies. His second novel, The Moscoviad, remains a modern classic, and is just as relevant today as at its publication in 1993.
Norwegian author Erlend Loe has himself written about the current war in Ukraine. In his open letter to his Russian readers and friends, he calls the war a “lie” born out of “one man’s delusion about a lost empire”. He has read The Moscoviad with eagerness and enthusiasm, and will now meet Andrukhovych for a conversation. What can The Moscoviad tell us about how Ukrainians view Russia, and how Russia views them?
The conversation will be held in English.