The Best Selling Ukrainian Novel of All Time Now Available in Translation
Kalyna Language Press
Press Release April 2013
Aventura E books, London have now published Vasyl Shkliar’s best selling Ukrainian language novel, ‘Raven’ (Чорний Ворон) in English. This is the first time that an ordinary non-specialist press has published a Ukrainian language novel in translation. Kalyna Language Press note that Shkliar is “the author whose books are most often stolen from bookshops. This book is worth risking a criminal conviction for but, please, just buy a copy. It is the most exciting novel you will ever read.”
‘Raven’ (or Чорний Ворон, Chornyj Voron in Ukrainian) was published in 2009 and sold over 100,000 copies before several pirate versions were released. The book tells the story of how, in 1921, when Ukraine had been overwhelmed by vast numbers of communist troops after four years of war, a small army of Cossacks battled on in the forests of an area of Central Ukraine known as Kholodnyi Yar (Холодний Яр) or “Cold Ravine.” There they built huge underground chambers which could conceal hundreds of men and horses in between their attacks on Soviet forces. They were finally suppressed in 1926.
When the award winning author Vasyl Shkliar, born in 1951 and known as the father of the Ukrainian best seller, was growing up in a village in the woods where these warriors had fought all mention of them in public was forbidden. He only heard about them from furtively whispered tales. When the Soviet Secret Police files were eventually opened, he used the secret reports on this Guerilla war, which he has included in the book to piece together the jigsaw of these men’s tragic lives.
In 2011 he was awarded the Shevchenko Prize, Ukraine’s highest literary honour worth $32,000 USD for the book, but refused the honour in protest at the educational policies of the Ukrainian government.
The novel mixes fact with fiction, and police reports with imaginative prose, as Shkliar tells the tale of Raven and Veremii two of the Cossack chiefs who battled on after Ukraine had fallen. When Veremii dies in battle the communists secretly follow three Cossacks and a priest, who bury his body in the forest, but when they dig up the coffin later they find a cryptic note instead of a corpse. Meanwhile Raven, thinks his life has ended when a grenade blows him off his horse, so is surprised to wake up in the house of Yevdosia, a witch. The book follows Veremii’s wife as she tries to find her husband, who keeps sending her enigmatic messages, and Raven as he and his men dodge grenades and bullets while trying to free their country. This translation was prepared as a screenplay and is currently doing the rounds in Hollywood so you might see Ukrainian cossacks galloping across the screen of your multiplex in the near future.
You can read an extract here
The book is available available on all Amazon sites for Kindle – www.amazon.co.uk, www.amazon.com, www.amazon.de, www.amazon.es, www.amazon.fr, www.amazon.it, www.amazon.jp, www.amazon.br and www.amazon.ca.
It is also of course available on the Aventura ebookstore:
Raven by Vasyl Shkliar
Here there are 2 formats:
mobi – which can be read on Kindles and on PC/laptop/Tablets using Kindle for PC
ePub – for reading on 99% of ereaders such as Kobo, Nook, Sony etc and Kindle Fire
It is also available on Smashwords who then distribute to Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google etc. It is already on Smashwords but usually takes about 2 weeks to appear on the other stores.
For information about the translation service provided by Kalyna Language Press please see
www.kalynalanguagepress.com (literary translations)
www.kalynatranslations.com (business and personal)