by Artem Chapey
translated from the Ukrainian by Zenia Tompkins
from the April 4, 2022 issue of The New Yorker
Artem Chapeye, who is currently serving in Ukraine’s defense force, is a completely new author to me. Apparently he wrote this story back in late 2017, remarking on “the romance of decline.”
His article with The New Yorker is interesting, as he talks about what is going on right now (the interview seems to have taken place on March 10), and about what Ukraine means to him. He also addresses that definite article “the” and how it relates to his own love for his country.
The story, which begins this way:
She and I converged on a sullen love for our country. A hate-love, some might say. A love with a dash of masochism, I used to say. A love in defiance of pain, she used to say. And that was how she and I loved each other, too—through pain and a bit frantically.
I have not read it all the way through yet, but it seems to be a lovely tribute to Ukraine, told from the perspective of a man who goes out and about with the woman he loves. They discuss the country and the countryside. This is not just a travelogue, though; it’s also a story about this relationship.
I look forward to seeing your thoughts on the story. Please comment below if you’re so inclined.