The dramaticfamily sagaHardly Ever Otherwiseby Maria Matios, having won the Ukrainian national Book of the Year Award 2007 and Grand Prix at the Ukrainian Coronation of the Word Prize 2007,narrates the story of several western Ukrainian families during the last decades of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and expands upon the idea that “it isn’t time that is important, but the human condition in time.”
The family of a wealthy farmer KyryloCheviuk is stricken by a tragedy. As time passes, nobody dares to talk about it. His young son Dmytryk´s body had been grinded by the local mill and the poor lad spent his last days hardly breathing with his bleeding chest full of pain and ... his secret love. The course of the events to follow reveals the cruel truth of his death: “They jumped about on top of poor Dmytryk, as if they were dancing a wild dance, stopping only after they heard that his bones no longer cracked...” A homecoming war veteran Ivan Varvarchuk beat Dmytryk to death for seducing his young wife Petrunia. But what did actuallyhappenand most importantly – why?
Several vitally interconnected storylines develop throughout the novel, all fatally converging on the Cheviuk’s family tragedy. Painting a tortured picture of life’s harsh brutality in the region, Maria Matios features traditional topics of Ukrainian literature such as soldiering, brothers’ litigation over land ownership, betrayal and revenge.
Enchanted by the impeccable style of this family saga, the reader becomes baffled by the character’s actions. When familiar passions like love and hate, joy and envy overcome them and it’s not in their nature to resist, consequences reach the catastrophic magnitude.A prevailing code of honour, followed by the villagers to the letter, is the cornerstone of the novel’s dramatic narrative. The brightly coloured canvas of the society the stories are staged in is tainted by disturbing and unthinkable actions of both men and women; unthinkable, but inseparable from native to the region peculiarities of that era. The depth of characters’ inner torment and a continuous dilemma whether to follow the code or to follow the heart is present in every scene. And more than often the heart is confused with something else....
The novel’s opening story ‘Four brothers, like kith and kin’ has been successfully staged by the Les KurbasTheater of Lviv (Ukraine).
About the author:
A linguist by profession with a degree in Ukrainian literature, Maria Matios has stormed the book market with her bestselling award winning novels set exclusively in the legendary Ukrainian highlands where she grew up. Dubbed the “Grande Dame” of Ukrainian literature, Matios knows this ruthless land too well, for she was born into a family whose ancestors settled here in the 1700s. Maria had worked in the literary industry in various capacities before she took to creative writing. Seven books of poetry and five books of prose earned Maria Matios an unofficial title of Ukraine's most prolific female author, and the official titles of Chevalier of the Ukrainian Order of Merit and Honorary Citizen of the city of Chernivtsi (Ukraine).
Maria Matios’s works have been translated into many languages including Serbian, Romanian, Russian, Polish, Croatian, Belorussian, Azerbaijani, Japanese, and Chinese.
Glagoslav Publications is a British-Dutch publishing company specializing in contemporary fiction and non-fiction by Russian, Ukrainian and Belorussian authors, as well as significant works from the past that, despite their enduring relevance, are currently unavailable in English and Dutch.