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Comment: A book with obvious wear. May have some damage to the cover or binding but integrity is still intact. There might be writing in the margins, possibly underlining and highlighting of text, but no missing pages or anything that would compromise the legibility or understanding of the text.
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The Museum of Abandoned Secrets Paperback – October 9, 2012

3.4 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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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.

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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: 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,068,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wow! Shades of James Joyce's "Ulysses." My paternal grandmother was from the Ukraine so I already felt a connection with the space part of the continuum (and did it continue!). Devastatingly sad, hysterically funny, almost always lyrically written, the reader will need to devote lots of time and attention while reading. Definitely an immersive experience...
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