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The Museum of Abandoned Secrets Paperback – October 9, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 760 pages
  • Publisher: AmazonCrossing (October 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611090113
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611090116
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #917,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Oksana Zabuzhko was born in 1960 in Ukraine. She made her poetry debut in 1972, but her parents’ blacklisting during the Soviet purges prevented her first book from being published until the 1980s. She earned her PhD in philosophy from Kyiv Shevchenko University and has taught as a Fulbright Fellow and writer-in-residence at Penn State University, Harvard University, and the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of seventeen books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, which have been translated into fifteen languages and have garnered numerous awards. Her novel Field Work in Ukrainian Sex was named “the most influential Ukrainian book for the fifteen years of independence.” She lives today in Kyiv, where she works as a freelance writer.


More About the Author

Oksana Zabuzhko was born in 1960 in Ukraine. She made her poetry debut at the age of 12, yet, because her parents had been blacklisted during the Soviet purges of the 1970s, it was not until the perestroika that her first book was published. She graduated from the department of philosophy of Kyiv Shevchenko University, obtained her PhD in philosophy of arts, and has spent some time in the USA lecturing as a Fulbright Fellow and a Writer-in-Residence at Penn State University, Harvard University, and University of Pittsburgh. After the publication of her novel "Field Work in Ukrainian Sex" (1996), which in 2006 was named "the most influential Ukrainian book for the 15 years of independence", she has been living in Kiev as a free-lance author. She has authored 17 books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, which have been translated into fifteen languages. Among her numerous acknowledgments are the Global Commitment Foundation Poetry Prize (1997), MacArthur Grant (2002), Antonovych International Foundation Prize (2008), the Ukrainian National Award, the Order of Princess Olha (2009), and many other national awards.

Customer Reviews

Fun and intreging book to read.
Kathleen M. Kusel
I just couldn't get into this book at all so II didn't finish it.
Mrs. Ivie R. Bellone
Hard to track the story-jumps about too much.
Rose Turner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Reader from Washington, DC VINE VOICE on September 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"The Museum of Abandoned Secrets" is a fascinating, well-written and enjoyable novel, but it is not really one novel -- it is two novels -- alternating chapters of:

Novel 1: a black comedy -- sprawling, picaresque -- about the romance of two Gen X intellectual yuppies in the year 2003 in the corrupt, materialistic and chaotic post-Communist upper crust Ukrainian society -- and

Novel 2: a sad, lyrical World War II and Cold War novel about two middle class lovers serving as soldiers in a tiny forest-based guerilla unit in the WWII Ukrainian insurgent army that fought the Poles, the Nazis, the Russian Communists, the Italians -- well, virtually everyone -- in an attempt to create a free Ukraine.

Since the book is really two novels rather than one, it clocks in at 678 pages. The two novels are tied together by the narrator -- one of the two yuppies -- who is a prominent television journalist making a film about the lives of the romantic couple in the tiny guerilla unit and their tragic ultimate fate. She enters a love affair with a descendant of one of the two ill-fated forest guerillas.

The two novels are different in style.

The social comedy -- think a longer version of Nikolai Gogol's "Dead Souls" in its themes -- or Zadie Smith's "White Teeth" -- constitutes a sweeping, hilarious panorama of Ukrainian society after being freed from centuries of multiple wars and dictatorships. The stories are amusing, classic FSU (Former Soviet Union) stories -- the moral and intellectual confusion of people in a country where the rulers, flags, official language and approved national religion changed every few generations as a new conqueror marched through.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By G. Messersmith VINE VOICE on September 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The protagonist is Daryna Goshchynska who is a television journalist in modern day Ukraine. When interviewing an important artist, Vladyslava Matusevych, they immediately bond and become best friends. Unfortunately shortly thereafter Vladyslava is killed in a car crash, which Daryna assumes is a terrible accident. Daryna thinks Vladyslava fell asleep at the wheel. Sometime before she meets Vladyslava she finds a picture of Olena Dovgan, a nationalist of the resistance movement that fought the Soviets and others during WWII. Daryna decides to do a documentary on Olena and uncovers a murder, meanwhile she is looking into her friend's car wreck and discovers some alarming facts about the powers that be.

The writing is all over the place in this novel and the narration is very difficult to follow. Plus the author is trying to tell two stories in one book which makes it an exceedingly long book. If you know nothing about Ukraine from WWII to present day there are many things in this novel that will simply go over your head.

At times when reading this novel I thought I could not go on and finish it but I managed to make it through. Was it worth it? That I'm not sure of. I gave it 3 stars because much of the writing is beautiful and lyrical but it is very difficult to follow.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By rampageous_cuss VINE VOICE on September 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Daryna "Lolly" Goshchynska, the daughter of a persecuted dissident, is a successful TV journalist in contemporary Ukraine. As she deals with her job, emerging socio-political realities, and relationship issues, Lolly's family history forces her to come to grips with the abandoned secrets of Ukraine's grim 20th century history and how they affect what her nation is becoming. Inspired by a photograph of Olena "Gela" Dovganivna, a beautiful nationalist of the resistance movement that fought the Soviets after WWII, Lolly embarks on an investigation that leads her into a love affair, dreams of a doomed romance, and a murder mystery.

Although this book is a TOME I got a big kick out of it, particularly as despite having a smattering of historical knowledge of the mid-20th century Ukraine, I tend to have a vague Balkanized image of the Soviet empire's still newly-independant former colonies. I also enjoy the author's Proustian writing style, her humorous meditations on her country's social development, the artful revelations of the simultaneous persistance and wilfull ignorance of history, and the elegaic way Zabuzhko handles the dreams of Aidy, Lolly's lover, in which he lives out the doomed romance of the partisan lovers: his namesake Adrian and his aunt Gela.

The translation is highly readable, but the tale is so long I sometimes lost the thread and had to go back - even then it wasn't always easy! However my real problem has more to do with my own ignorance I guess; even for someone with a smattering of knowledge about the postwar resistance movements against communism, Ukrainian historical geography needs a little elucidation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By knittingmom VINE VOICE on January 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Museum of Abandoned Secrets by Oksana Zabuzhko is an expertly written book which I cannot praise highly enough. Zabuzhko has created quite a lengthy tome, yet I cannot fathom what could be removed without losing the many threads that weaves together this exquisite Ukrainian book. Having spent time in the former Soviet controlled Ukraine, I was captivated from the very beginning to the last page and found myself longing to return. I highly recommend The Museum of Abandoned Secrets and hope the length of the book will not deter others; it is definitely worth the time.
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