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Nikt tak nie tańczył, jak mój dziadek | Kateryna Babkina

“My Grandfather Danced the Best” is a series of stories about five families whose children meet at school on 1 September in the first year of Ukraine’s independence, and remain friends for life.

“Then, a tall girl blinked resolutely and released the hand of her classmate who had managed to forget his anxieties, such was the extent of everything which was new and inconceivable, and she moved her thin fingers along Lilitchka’s collar. From the collar, she unfastened a plastic mouse, a shiny grey brooch with touches of pink, and held it on her open palm for the weeping boy to take. ‘This is for you’, she said. “A gift. Please, stop crying. Stop right now.”. Then it seemed he stopped. Maybe not right away, but he definitely did.”

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Niebieska okładka ksiażki. U góry czarną czcionką nazwisko autora Kateryna Babkina oraz tytuł Nikt tak nie tańczył, jak mój dziadek. Na okładkce ksiażki znajdują się dwa papierowe samolociki.

This is by no means martyrological “war literature”; the genealogy of five families grows through quiet years of stagnation. There is lyricism and the fleeting beauty of silver bubbles in the azure waters of the “Olympic” swimming pool. We also see the feverish, motley, or sometimes cocaine-soaked years of independent Ukraine, where injustice is passed down through generations. Those whose families were torn apart by purges and war when they were children will protect theirs by any means; that’s just the way it is.

Wojciech Stanisławski

Author and translator