Theodore Odrach: Вошадь (Wave of Terror)

The latest addition to my website is Theodore Odrach‘s Вошадь (Wave of Terror). Odrach fled Ukraine and moved to Canada where he wrote this book, his only novel translated into English. it is set in his native Pinsk Marshes and the town of Pinsk. The book is set in 1939. The area had been under Polish control but shortly after the German invasion of Poland, the Soviet Union invaded and annexed this area. The locals were ethnically Ukrainian and spoke Ukrainian but the area was placed in the Byelorussian SSR and not the Ukrainian one. Our hero, Ivan Kulik, is the head master of a school and is required to teach in Byelorussian or Russian despite the fact that the pupils speak only Ukrainian and he speaks no Byelorussian. The book shows the takeover by the Soviets and all the Soviets are mocked as bumbling idiots or condemned as vicious and cruel. Kulik and his friend and colleague Sergei realise that things are not going to go well for them as they watch people arbitrarily sent off to Siberia or blatantly murdered, while the town of Pinsk becomes a ghost town as shops and the market are closed. Odrach makes no bones about his deep hatred for the Soviet Union, the Soviet officials and Stalin.

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