Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Super-difficult reality in simple words

Khrystyna Lukashchuk’s The Maidan’s Tale to be launched in France
23 November, 2016 - 17:58
Illustrations from the website of the Old Lion Publishing House

The book’s French translation saw the light of day at the Bleu et Jaune publishing house which actively maintains cultural exchange between various countries and, particularly, acquaints French readers with the history and literature of Ukraine. The translation was done by Justine Horetska.

Khrystyna Lukashchuk wrote and illustrated The Maidan’s Tale back in 2014 immediately after those dramatic events. The book, which came out at the Old Lion Publishing House, was the first attempt to speak with children about not so simple things, such as what and why was going on during the Revolution of Dignity. The authoress chose a universal language – one of the fairytale. Both the text and illustrations are full of archetypes, symbols, and allegories.

The book weighs a mere 360 grams and has 36 pages, but it comprises Ukraine’s 1,000-year history. The authoress set herself a goal to tell children our history in brief and show the cause-and-effect relationship between historical events.

“When the Maidan saw a fatal shooting, I was at home. I was glued to the screen that was giving live coverage of the events. My brother was out there, and I read every time with a sinking heart the updated lists of casualties,” Lukashchuk says to The Day. “In the dead of night I wrote a short story, Not a Fairytale. I did so partly because it was the only thing I could do at the moment and partly because I believed that what I had written was coming true. In that story, a small boy asks his mother to tell him a fairytale for the night. But the mother, full of emotions over the Maidan events, tells him a tale in which she tries to briefly and simply describe the super-difficult reality. And I suddenly realized that there is no short and easy-to-grasp history of Ukraine that could explain to the little reader what caused the Maidan and, in general, the cause-and-effect relationship between historical events. When I finished my Maidan’s Tale, I understood that every word was true in it. I dared to embrace a millennium in a very, very short way. This was important to me.”

The authoress says this book is very special to her. “This is reconsideration of not only the Maidan events, but also all my lifetime. When I finished the layout, the impression was that I’d said everything. I was even frightened over this. Well, that was sort of a limit, a boundary, a balance between values,” Lukashchuk says. “It was important for me at the time to convey my emotions as much and as precisely as possible by means of words, colors, rhythm, and composition.”

Khrystyna is convinced that it is worthwhile to speak with children about difficult subjects, for “they absorb, like radars, semitones and moods.” “But we should speak in the form of a fairytale, for it is a faultless and centuries-tested way of putting across the truth,” Lukashchuk sums it up and adds that we thus make it possible for children to avoid the undesirable and awful in the future.

And now that we mark the third anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity, French children can also read about the Maidan. Khrystyna Lukashchuk is convinced that this book will be no less interesting to them than it is to Ukrainian kids. For it is about eternal values.