Ivan and Phoebe (Hardcover)
Ivan and Phoebe chronicles the lives of several young people involved in the Ukrainian student protests of the 1990s-otherwise known as the Revolution on Granite or the First Maidan and investigates the difficulties and absurdities of a society swiftly shifting from subjugation to revolution to post-Soviet rule.
Married couple Ivan and Phoebe grapple with questions about family, tragedy, and independence. Although protagonist Ivan tells the story, Phoebe's voice rings through the text. The two reflect on the harrowing aftermath of revolution: torture at the hands of the KGB and each other. Ivan refuses to talk about his pain, while Phoebe recounts her past wounds through poetic monologues. The story bounces between politically charged cities like Kyiv and Lviv and Ivan's small, traditional hometown of Uzhhorod. As characters come to exercise their rights to free speech and protest, they must also reevaluate the norms of marriage and home life. These initially appear to be spaces of peace and harmony but are soon revealed to be hotbeds of conflict and multigenerational trauma.
Through her characters' vivid voices, Oksana Lutsyshyna creates a his- and her-story of Ukraine: a panoramic view of post-Soviet society and family life through social, political, and economic crises.