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The Days Of Miracle and Wonder: Stories

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Nine Stories. All Miraculous and Wonder-filled If Nikolai Gogol and Vladimir Nabokov had a children, they would resemble the characters in this exciting new short story collection by award-winning fiction writer, Irene Zabytko. The stories feature famous and infamous people with historical, political, spiritual, and even sinister ties to Ukraine. Mesmerizing, amazing, and unforgettable. —“Irene Zabytko has shown that a writer can tell great stories and still have a Ukrainian point of view.” —A. J. Motyl, Author THE JEW WHO WAS UKRAINIAN —“Irene Zabytko's work is very engaging. I always look forward to her writing as it is captivating, and her characters are empowered with grace and strength.”— Laurie Kuntz, Poet, Author, THE MOON OVER MY MOTHER'S HOUSE —“What a breezy but compelling read. I like it a lot. The momentum builds within a social framework that is both ominous and absurd. I hear a bit of Nabokov and of course Hohol.”—Lila Dlaboha, Poet, Past Editorial Board Member THE LITTLE MAGAZINE Irene Zabytko is an award-winning fiction writer. She is the author of the highly acclaimed novel about Chornobyl (Chernobyl), THE SKY UNWASHED, and the short story collection WHEN LUBA LEAVES HOME. Irene Zabytko is also the author of the ultimate fiction writing guidebook: THE FICTION PRESCRIPTION: HOW TO WRITE AND IMPROVE YOUR FICTION LIKE THE GREAT LITERARY MASTERS

Kindle Edition

Published December 19, 2020

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About the author

Irene Zabytko

7 books12 followers
IRENE ZABYTKO is the author of the novel about Chernobyl THE SKY UNWASHED (a Barnes & Nobel Discover Great New Writers title and New York Times E-Book Bestseller), WHEN LUBA LEAVES HOME (short story collection about her Ukrainian-American Chicago neighborhood), THE FICTION PRESCRIPTION (fiction writing guidebook), and her latest work of fiction, THE MIDWIFE'S TALE: A CHRISTMAS STORY. She's the recipient of the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award and a Fulbright for her research on her upcoming novel about the life of Nikolai Gogol.

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Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 reviews
238 reviews1 follower
July 27, 2022
4.5 but rounding up. A really solid book of short stories, some of which I loved. I loved the one about the Elvis impersonator, the actor who is sent to the gulag, and the midwife for Mary. Others were good, but not stellar. They are loosely connected to Ukraine, mostly around the end of the Soviet Union or shortly after its collapse. Many of the stories have a similar and distinct narrative voice, in which the narrator is a person talking in a very conversational way, but often aren't directly involved in the story being told--it reminded me a bit of some of Neil Gaiman's stories.
Profile Image for Gregg Sapp.
Author 19 books19 followers
January 22, 2021
A reader might suppose that a short story collection entitled “The Days of Miracle and Wonder” contains uplifting tales to soothe a troubled soul. The eponymous story, though, is about an impoverished, dying artist who is probably losing his mind. In this collection, Irene Zabytko, author of the acclaimed novel “The Sky Unwashed,” consistently delivers the unexpected.

The nine stories in this slim volume range from sad to odd to surreal, but none are especially optimistic. Most stories are set in Ukraine just before or after the breakup of the Soviet Union, a time when the country suffered from significant economic and social distress. Characters include an Elvis wannabe, a bitter cosmonaut, an Olympic swimmer fallen on hard times, and a great actor toiling in a Siberian gulag. Throughout, a recurring theme involves the social tensions wrought by the dissolution of Soviet hegemony.

Zabytko employs a distinctive literary technique wherein several stories are recounted by a first person narrator who is not the primary actor in the narrative. In these, the role of the “I” is to tell somebody else’s story. For example, two of the longest stories are told by an American divorcee touring the Carpathian Mountains, “in search of my lost relatives whose clan I was a distant part of through my recently deceased parents.” The stories she tells, though, are all about “An Argument between the Customs Official and the Speculator.”

Their tales are somewhat nonsensical, but clever satire, and the acerbic insults bandied between the protagonists are delightful. Consider this statement by the Customs Official: “Let’s examine this new breed of specimen—this species of speculatortum capitalicus—as we would a louse under a microscope. Look at that—splotchy skin from far too many vodka-filled nights in smoky bars… Fangs for teeth to better extract the blood and the last measly coins from widows and orphans.”

This is answered by the Speculator: “You’re just mad because you can’t make half the money in a free market as you did when you were the overpaid, underworked, overindulged higher members of the so-called classless society. No one is afraid of you anymore.”

Collectively, these feel like the kinds of stories that might be told among friends or family, during casual conversation. Often, the narrator addresses readers, as if they were in the same room. Although the miracles and wonders are double-edged, these stories will linger in readers’ minds.
Profile Image for Maryana Sokha.
2 reviews5 followers
June 25, 2021
The new book by Irena Zabytko, an American writer of Ukrainian origin, is a collection of short stories, each of which is related in one way or another to Ukraine.
The author adds miracles and wonders to historical events, so from her stories you will learn what Gagarin could see in space and how the planet Earth sounds in the distance, what miracle could have happened to Les Kurbas in Solovki and who helped Virgin Mary to deliver Jesus.
Irena came to Ukraine several times in the 1990s, so in this collection there will also be stories about speculators, American marriage agencies in Kyiv, and Elvis Presley fans under the watchful eye of the KGB. And you will find out who managed to kick the devil out of hell!
19 reviews1 follower
July 30, 2022
Thoughtful, funny, quirky stories. Kept me interested. I usually do not purchase short stories and I was pleasantly surprised. The author wrote The Sky Unwashed and it was well received by our book club.
Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 reviews

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