Home Education Best Ukrainian Books: A Definitive Guide for Avid Readers

Best Ukrainian Books: A Definitive Guide for Avid Readers

girl in embroidery books with color Ukrainian flag
Beautiful Ukrainian little girl in embroidery books in color Ukrainian flag

Welcome to a literary journey that takes a deep dive into the rich and vibrant world of Ukrainian literature. From the time-honored classics to contemporary narratives, Ukrainian literature offers a diverse range of themes and styles, reflecting the country’s complex history and dynamic culture.

Best Ukrainian Fiction Books

Contemporary Ukrainian Fiction

One of the most popular contemporary Ukrainian fiction writers is Serhiy Zhadan, known for his unique style and captivating storytelling. His famous works include “Depeche Mode,” “Anarchy in the UZD,” and “Voroshylovhrad,” each offering a deep insight into the Ukrainian society, culture, history and ongoing war. His books have also been translated into various languages, allowing a wider audience to appreciate his literary genius.

“The Orphanage” by Serhiy Zhadan is a noteworthy contemporary fiction piece for its engaging and thought-provoking plot set in war-torn Ukraine. The book offers vivid imagery, realistic characters, and deep cultural insights into Ukrainian folklore, music, and poetry. It serves as a poignant social commentary on war’s impacts while exploring themes of family, love, sacrifice, and resilience, providing a deep emotional experience for readers.

The Orphanage: A Novel (The Margellos World Republic of Letters)
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Engaging Plot: The story is set amidst a war-torn Ukraine and follows the journey of a school teacher, Pasha, who risks his life to save his nephew in an orphanage. The plot is not only engaging but also thought-provoking.
  • Vivid Imagery: Zhadan’s writing style is rich with vivid imagery that brings the scenes to life. His descriptions are so detailed that readers can visualize the war-torn areas and feel the characters’ emotions.
  • Cultural Insight: The book provides deep insights into Ukrainian culture and history. It presents a unique blend of local folklore, music, and poetry, making it a valuable piece of Ukrainian literature.
  • Realistic Characters: The characters in the book are well-developed and realistic. Their struggles are relatable, which makes readers empathize with them.
  • Social Commentary: “The Orphanage” reflects on the harsh realities of war and its effect on common people. It is a poignant social commentary on the ongoing war in Ukraine.
  • Emotional Depth: The book has a deep emotional layer. It explores themes of family, love, sacrifice, and the human spirit’s resilience.

“Sweet Darusya” by Maria Matios is a significant contemporary Ukrainian novel due to its unique narrative style, profound historical perspective, authentic cultural representation, poetic literary artistry, and deep emotional storytelling. It presents a vivid exploration of complex family relationships and provides an in-depth look at the history and culture of Ukraine.

Sweet Darusya: A Tale Of Two Villages
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Narrative Style: Matios uses a unique narrative style that skillfully intertwines multiple generations and their personal experiences. This provides a vivid exploration of the complex family relationships and the human condition.
  • Historical Perspective: The novel presents an in-depth look at the history of Western Ukraine, from the early 20th century through World War II, Soviet era, and finally the period of Ukrainian Independence. This allows readers to gain a profound understanding of the country’s past.
  • Cultural Representation: Through her characters and their experiences, Matios provides a rich and authentic representation of Ukrainian culture, traditions, and rural life.
  • Literary Artistry: Matios’ writing style is known for its poetic quality, with detailed descriptions and metaphors that bring the story to life.
  • Emotive Storytelling: The novel is not just informative but also deeply emotional, exploring themes of love, loss, betrayal, and survival. It resonates with readers on a personal level, making it a powerful piece of literature.

Another notable contemporary Ukrainian author is Lina Kostenko, who pioneering role in Ukrainian literature, particularly during the ‘sixtiers’ era. She’s recognized for her unique writing style that combines traditional and modern elements, deep philosophical themes, and masterful use of the Ukrainian language. Her impactful works, such as ‘Marusya Churai,’ have become cultural touchstones in Ukraine and she has received numerous literary prizes. Despite pressures to conform to the Russian-language literary world, Kostenko remained committed to Ukrainian language and culture, making her an icon of Ukrainian literature.

Ukrainian Classics

There are many talented Ukrainian writers, but arguably the most influential and well-known is Taras Shevchenko. Shevchenko was a poet, writer, artist, public and political figure, as well as a folklorist and ethnographer. His literary work is considered the foundation of modern Ukrainian literature and, to a large extent, the modern Ukrainian language. His collection of poems, “Kobzar,” is a cornerstone of Ukrainian literature.

Kobzar by Taras Shevchenko
9.4/10Our Score

Key points from the readers:

  • The book is a valuable addition to the library, with deep and timeless poetry.
  • The English translation is classically poetic and emotionally powerful.
  • The book provides insights into Ukrainian history, culture, and the perspective of 19th-century women.
  • The translation is well-explained and captures the intent and passion of Shevchenko’s words.
  • The book is beautifully presented, with informative content and the inclusion of Shevchenko’s art.
Taras Shevchenko-leading Ukrainian poet and writer

Here’s the English translation of Taras Shevchenko’s “Zapovit” (The Will):

When I am dead, bury me
In my beloved Ukraine,
My tomb upon a grave mound high
Amid the spreading plain,

So that the fields, the boundless steppes,
The Dnieper’s plunging shore
My eyes could see, my ears could hear
The mighty river roar.

When from Ukraine the Dnieper bears
Into the deep blue sea
The blood of slaves, then will I leave
These hills and fertile lea –

I’ll leave them all and fly away
To the abode of God,
And then I’ll pray …. But until that day
I nothing know of God.

Oh bury me, then rise ye up
And break your heavy chains
And water with the tyrants’ blood
The freedom you have gained.

And in the great new family,
The family of the free,
With softly spoken, kindly word
Remember also me.

This translation is by John Weir, Toronto, 1961.

“Eneida” is a satirical poem by Ukrainian author Ivan Kotliarevsky. This literary work is a parody of Virgil’s “Aeneid” and is considered to be the first significant work of literature written in the Ukrainian language. It was first published in 1798.

The poem is a lively and humorous retelling of the ancient epic in the context of Ukrainian culture. The characters, originally divine and heroic figures, are transformed into typical representatives of Ukrainian society in the late 18th century.

Key features of “Eneida” include:

  • Depiction of Ukrainian life and folklore
  • Use of the Ukrainian vernacular
  • Satirical commentary on contemporary society
  • Transformation of classical epic into a burlesque narrative.

While being a parody, “Eneida” is also a celebration of Ukrainian language and culture. It represents a significant breakthrough in the development of Ukrainian literature and is still widely read and studied today.

Delving into the realm of classic Ukrainian literature, some prominent authors stand out for their outstanding contribution to the literary canon. Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky is one such iconic figure, best known for his novella “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors.” This fascinating work, deeply rooted in Ukrainian folklore and the Carpathian Mountains’ mystic atmosphere, draws readers into an enchanting world filled with legends, myths, and captivating characters.

Lesya Ukrainka whose real name was Larysa Petrivna Kosach-Kvitka, was one of Ukraine’s best-known poets and writers and the foremost woman writer in Ukrainian literature.

Another literary titan in the world of Ukrainian classics is Lesya Ukrainka, a renowned poet and playwright. Her work, “The Forest Song,” blends elements of traditional Ukrainian folklore with philosophical themes, creating an unforgettable reading experience. This lyrical drama, with its rich symbolic motifs and captivating language, has earned a prominent place in the Ukrainian literary canon. In 2022 “Mavka: The Forest Song” a Ukrainian animated feature film produced by Animagrad based on the play by Lesya Ukrainka.

Mavka, the Forest Song - Ukrainian movie

Ivan Franko, one of the most significant cultural figures in Ukrainian history, also made a lasting impact with his literary contributions. His versatile works, spanning genres like poetry, prose, and drama, demonstrate a profound understanding of Ukrainian society and culture. Amongst his most celebrated works are “Zakhar Berkut” and “Boryslav Laughs,” both of which represent the pinnacle of Ukrainian realism.

Fox Mykyta / Lys Mykyta (Ivan Franko's Ukrainian Classic)
9.4/10 Our Score
  • “Lys Mykyta” by Ivan Franko is renowned for its complex and well-developed protagonist.
  • The story offers a critical examination of societal issues like corruption and power abuse.
  • Franko’s vivid imagery and sophisticated literary style make the narrative engaging.
  • By exploring universal themes within the Ukrainian context, it connects with a wide range of readers.
  • The story has significantly influenced Ukrainian literature, inspiring several other writers.

In conclusion, Ukrainian literature offers a treasure trove of outstanding fiction books, both in contemporary and classical realms. Works from authors like Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky, Serhiy Zhadan, Lesia Ukrainka, Ivan Franko, and Olena Kucher showcase the depth, diversity, and beauty of the Ukrainian literary tradition.

Best Ukrainian Non-Fiction Books

Ukrainian History

Ukraine has a rich and complex history, with many gripping stories to tell. One of the top non-fiction books on Ukrainian history is Red Famine by Anne Applebaum. This book dives deep into the tragic period of the Holodomor, the man-made famine that killed millions of Ukrainians in the early 1930s under Joseph Stalin’s regime. Applebaum’s extensive research and captivating storytelling make this a key read for anyone interested in understanding Ukraine’s past.

Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine
9.4/10 Our Score

“Red Famine” by Anne Applebaum is a well-researched and detailed account of the Holodomor, providing a deep understanding of the factors leading to the Holodomor, the deliberate mass starvation policy implemented by the Soviet Union, and its aftermath.

  • Historical Accuracy: Applebaum delves deep use of archives to unearth and shed light on a largely overlooked chapter of history.
  • In-depth Analysis: Applebaum help to learn about the longstanding disdain for Ukrainians, the forced collectivization, and the significant role Stalin played in the genocide. And reflection on the erasure of Ukrainian culture and history during the Soviet era.
  • Human Perspective: Applebaum’s use of oral histories and personal accounts brings a human perspective to the tragedy, making the horror of the event more tangible and emotionally resonant for readers.
  • Understanding of Soviet Policy: “Red Famine” allows readers to gain a critical understanding of Soviet policies, particularly the role they played in the oppression and subjugation of Ukraine. It provides invaluable insights into the nature of totalitarian regimes.
  • Relevance to Current Events: The book’s exploration of Russian-Ukrainian relations is highly relevant today, given the ongoing Russian full-scale war against Ukraine. It offers historical context that can inform understanding of current events.

Another noteworthy book on Ukraine’s history is Serhii Plokhy’s The Gates of Europe. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the historical developments in the region from ancient times to the present. It emphasizes the country’s geopolitical significance and offers insights into the cultural, political, and social dimensions of Ukrainian history. Plokhy’s book is an essential starting point for those looking to get acquainted with Ukraine’s rich history.

The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine
9.4/10 Our Score

“The Gates of Europe” by Serhii Plokhy provides a comprehensive history of Ukraine and its pivotal role in Europe:

  • Deep Historical Insights: The book provides an in-depth review of Ukrainian history, starting from the ancient times to the present. Great explanation regarding the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine. However some the book doesn’t adequately address some painful topics in Ukrainian history, such as the Holodomor and Ukraine’s fight for freedom during 1940-1960. And questionable claim that Gorbachev’s father was russian, in reality he was ethnic Ukrainian from Kuban Kossacks (Stavropol territory) that was previously Ukrainian Kuban land.
  • Geopolitical Importance: Understanding Ukraine’s history and its relationship with neighboring countries, particularly aggressive Russia, is crucial to understanding the geopolitical dynamics of Europe. This knowledge can be valuable for Americans who are interested in international politics or those who want to understand the background of the ongoing conflicts in the region.
  • Cultural Understanding: The book offers a look into the rich and diverse culture of Ukraine. This can help American readers appreciate the cultural tapestry of Europe and the importance of preserving national identities.
  • Contemporary Relevance: With the ongoing political tensions involving Ukraine, understanding the country’s history and identity is more important than ever. The book provides context to current events, making it a relevant read.
  • Well-Researched and Accessible: Plokhy is renowned for his academic rigor and ability to make complex histories accessible for the general public. Prof. Plokhy’s approach is balanced and aims not to offend, but rather to educate and inform.


When it comes to fascinating biographies, Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex by Oksana Zabuzhko is a must-read. This book combines autobiography, fiction, and cultural criticism, offering a unique and powerful perspective on post-Soviet Ukraine and the experiences of women navigating a complex societal landscape.

Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Deeply Personal Story: The book is a semi-autobiographical novel based on the author’s own experiences. This deeply personal aspect adds a layer of authenticity to the narrative that often resonates with readers.
  • Insight into Ukrainian Society: Zabuzhko uses this novel as a platform to share her insights about the post-Soviet Ukrainian society. The book provides a unique perspective that is seldom found in other literature.
  • Feminist Perspective: The novel can be seen as a powerful feminist work. It explores the protagonist’s experiences as a woman in a patriarchal society, offering readers a critical look at gender roles and expectations.
  • Innovative Writing Style: Zabuzhko’s non-linear narrative style and stream-of-consciousness technique make the novel an engaging read. Her vivid language and unique writing style have been praised by critics and readers alike.
  • Emotional Depth: The book deals with themes of love, betrayal, and self-discovery, giving it an emotional depth that can engage readers on a personal level.
  • Cultural Commentary: Through the protagonist’s experiences, Zabuzhko offers commentary on the cultural and political state of Ukraine after independence, making the novel an interesting read for those interested in socio-political themes.
  • Intense and Provocative: The novel is known for its explicit sexual content and intense emotional themes. It’s a provocative piece that pushes boundaries and prompts intellectual discussions.

For a look into the lives of famous Ukrainians, consider reading Ukrainian Market of Biography Book during 2010-2013: the Main Statistical Indicators. This report provides an overview of the most popular biographies published in Ukraine during that period, covering a diverse range of subjects from politics to art and literature.

Chernobyl-Related Books

Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe” by Serhii Plokhy is a valuable book for its comprehensive analysis of the Chernobyl disaster. It offers an educational insight into the risks of nuclear power, places the event in historical context, and shares poignant human stories. The book is well-researched, making it a reliable source of information. It also raises awareness about the long-term effects of nuclear disasters and the importance of safety measures.

Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Historical Significance: The book offers a detailed account of one of the worst man-made disasters in history. It educates the reader about the events leading to the disaster, the explosion itself, and the aftermath.
  • Insightful Narrative: The author presents the story not just in terms of the technological failure but also explores the human, political, and societal aspects that contributed to the disaster.
  • Scientific Explanation: The book provides an understandable explanation of the nuclear technology involved, making it accessible to readers without a scientific background.
  • Firsthand Accounts: The book includes firsthand accounts of the disaster from the people who experienced it, providing a personal and emotional perspective that is often missing from historical accounts.
  • Lessons Learned: The book explores the lessons learned from Chernobyl and how they’ve influenced nuclear safety regulations worldwide, making it relevant for anyone interested in nuclear power and its role in our energy future.
  • In-depth Research: The author’s meticulous research, based on newly available archival documents, provides new insights into the disaster that were previously unknown.
  • Societal Impact: The book examines the long-term health and environmental consequences of the disaster, giving readers a deeper understanding of the lasting impact of nuclear accidents.

Another renowned book on the topic is Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich, Belorussian writer. Through a collection of personal accounts from survivors, residents, and even liquidators, Alexievich presents a haunting and intimate portrait of life in the aftermath of the disaster. The book’s powerful storytelling and unique perspectives make it an essential read for those looking to understand the human side of the Chernobyl tragedy.

Voices From Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Authentic Stories: The book provides first-hand accounts of survivors, giving a deeply personal and human perspective on the Chernobyl disaster.
  • Historical Insight: It offers an invaluable historical insight into the devastating nuclear accident, its aftermath, and the government’s response.
  • Emotional Depth: The narratives are filled with raw emotions, making the reader comprehend the real human cost of such disasters.
  • Exceptional Writing: The author, Svetlana Alexievich, won the Nobel Prize in Literature and her skill shines through in this work.
  • Educational: By reading it, you can learn not only about the disaster itself but also about the socio-political landscape of that time.
  • Universal Themes: It touches upon universal themes such as bravery, loss, and resilience against adversity.

Best Ukrainian Children’s Books

Ukrainian children’s literature offers a rich variety of books that cater to the interests and development of young readers. These works are not only enchanting and captivating, but they also introduce children to Ukrainian culture, traditions, and history. Here are some noteworthy titles worth exploring.

The Ukrainian children’s book “Toreadors From Vasyukivka” by Vsevolod Nestaiko is a captivating read due to its cultural insight into Ukrainian rural life, engaging storyline, and relatable characters. The vivid imagery enhances imagination, while the moral lessons teach values of friendship, bravery, and respect for nature. The book also incorporates humor, making it a fun and educational reading experience for children.

Ukrainian Book for Kids
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Amazing Adventure: Join some cool boys as they become brave toreadors. It’s full of fun and exciting surprises!
  • Make New Friends: Meet characters who are just like you! They laugh, play and have amazing adventures.
  • Imagination Time: The book has lots of colorful descriptions that will make your imagination run wild. It’s like watching a movie in your head!
  • Learn Cool Things: You’ll learn about friendship, bravery, and how to respect nature. And guess what? You’ll learn all this while having loads of fun!
  • Lots of Giggles: The book is filled with funny moments that will make you giggle and laugh.

So get ready for a super fun journey with “Toreadors From Vasyukivka”. It’s not just a book, it’s a ticket to an awesome adventure!

100 Kazok” is a remarkable Ukrainian book that provides a deep dive into the country’s culture and history. It’s written in an engaging style by authors Viktoriya Palchun, Vladislav Erko, Kost Lavro, and Katerina Shtanko, making the reading experience enjoyable. The book is adorned with distinctive illustrations by Vladislav Erko, which enhance the narrative. It explores various themes like family, love, courage, and perseverance, resonating with many readers. Plus, the hardcover edition adds durability and aesthetic appeal to your book collection.

100 kazok
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Fun Stories: It has fun and exciting stories that will make you laugh, smile, and maybe even cry a little.
  • Beautiful Pictures: The book has amazing pictures drawn by a very good artist. You can look at them while you read or even when you just want to see something nice.
  • Learn New Things: This book tells stories from a faraway place called Ukraine. You can learn about the people there, their traditions, and their way of life.
  • Lots of Different Ideas: The book talks about many things like family, love, and being brave. These are all important things to learn about!
  • A Strong Book: This book is made hard, not like your regular books. That means it won’t tear easily and you can keep it for a long time. It’s also nice to hold and look at.

Best Ukrainian Romance Books

Ukrainian literature has a rich history of romance novels that touch the hearts of readers. In this section, we will explore some of the best Ukrainian romance books that showcase the depth of emotion, culture, and storytelling unique to the region.

One of the finest examples of romance in Ukrainian literature is “The City” of Valerian Pidmohylny. The main character of the work, Stepan Radchenko, comes to Kyiv with his friends to study. The boy dreams of “conquering” the capital, like other young men and women who moved from the village to the city by the thousands in the 20s of the last century. Stepan adjusts to life in the capital: he tolerates the neighbor’s cows, whom he thought he would never see again, meets women and learns to be a writer.

The City (Harvard Library of Ukrainian Literature)
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Historical Context: The novel provides a valuable glimpse into Ukraine’s socio-political reality during the early 20th century, a time of considerable change and turmoil.
  • Vivid Imagery: Pidmohylny’s writing style is rich and descriptive, creating a vivid and immersive picture of city life, making the readers feel as if they’re walking through the streets of Kyiv.
  • Character Depth: The characters in “The City” are complex, relatable, and realistic. This allows readers to understand their motivations, struggles, and triumphs.
  • Social Critique: Pidmohylny uses “The City” as a medium to critique societal norms and expectations of the time.
  • Thematic Depth: The novel explores profound themes such as the search for personal identity, the conflict between traditional and modern values, and the individual’s place in society.

“Amadoka” by Sofia Andrukhovych is a complex and serious novel of over 800 pages. The story revolves around a protagonist who loses his memory in the Russian-Ukrainian war. His face altered, he becomes unrecognizable, and without any evidence of his previous life, he is forced to start anew. A woman visits him in the hospital, claiming he is her missing husband, and together they work on restoring his memory. The novel also explores the theme of the disappearance of cultures and peoples, symbolized by a legendary lake named “Amadoka” that once existed in Ukraine but completely vanished from maps and the earth.

Amadoka: Roman (Ukrainian Edition)
9.4/10 Our Score

The novel “Amadoka” centers around a man who, after being severely injured in Eastern Ukraine, loses all his memories. A woman finds him and, through love and patience, attempts to help him rediscover his past. The story intertwines with the historical narrative of Amadoka, once the largest lake in Europe located in Ukraine, which mysteriously disappeared. The novel questions how entire worlds and cultures can vanish, like the lake, and it explores connections between past collective tragedies such as the Jewish Catastrophe of Eastern Europe and Stalin’s repression of the Ukrainian intelligentsia. It also delves into how individual and collective memory can be lost and possibly reclaimed.

Best Ukrainian Fantasy and Mystery Books

Ukrainian literature has a rich history of producing engaging novels that transport readers into imaginative and mysterious worlds. While there are countless Ukrainian books to choose from, this section highlights some of the best fantasy and mystery novels from Ukrainian authors that you should not miss.

In the realm of mystery, Serhii Plokhy “The Cossack Myth: History and Nationhood in the Age of Empires” explores the authorship and impact of a legendary and mysterious text from 17th-century Ukraine. This thought-provoking novel combines elements of history, politics, and literature, making it an intriguing read for mystery lovers and history enthusiasts alike.

The Cossack Myth: History and Nationhood in the Age of Empires (New Studies in European History)
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Adventurous Stories: The book is full of exciting stories about brave warriors called Cossacks. Imagine listening to tales of knights, but these knights ride on horseback across wide fields and rivers!
  • Time Travel: Reading this book is like going on a time travel adventure! It takes you back to a time when empires were big and powerful, just like in fairy tales.
  • Heroes and Villains: The book introduces you to real-life heroes and villains. You’ll get to know the good guys (the Cossacks) and their struggles against the bad guys (the empires).
  • Understanding Cultures: Just like people around the world have different types of clothes, food, and languages, they also have different stories they tell about themselves. This book tells us about the stories of the Cossacks.
  • Learning from a Wise Teacher: The person who wrote this book, Serhii Plokhy, is like a very wise teacher who knows a lot about history. He shares his knowledge in a way that makes you want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next!

Another notable recommendation is “The Case of the General’s Thumb” by Andrey Kurkov. This quirky, fast-paced detective story follows two investigators who are trying to solve a bizarre murder in Kyiv. As the two protagonists delve deeper into the mystery, they become entangled in a web of corruption, political intrigue, and dark humor.

The Case of the General's Thumb
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Unique Narrative Style: Kurkov’s writing style is distinctive, engaging, and often laced with dark humor. This makes the reading experience both entertaining and thought-provoking.
  • Intriguing Plot: The book presents a complex web of events that all lead back to one mystery. The suspense is held throughout the novel, making it a real page-turner.
  • Strong Characters: The characters are well developed and multi-dimensional. Their relationships and interactions add depth to the story.
  • Political Insight: The book provides an interesting perspective on post-Soviet society, politics, and corruption, giving readers insight into a part of history and geography they may not be familiar with.
  • Cultural Experience: Reading this book is not just about following a thrilling plot; it also offers a chance to experience Ukrainian culture and mentality through its detailed description of life in Ukraine.

In summary, these captivating fantasy and mystery novels offer a taste of the diverse and spellbinding Ukrainian literary tradition. Each book uniquely showcases the creativity and storytelling prowess of its author, making them worthy additions to any book lover’s collection.

Best Ukrainian Horror and Thriller Books

Ukrainian literature offers a wide array of captivating horror and thriller books for readers seeking a thrilling experience. While the genre may not be as vast as in other languages, the unique blend of Ukrainian folklore and contemporary settings result in distinctive and intriguing stories.

One noteworthy example is the works of Andriy Semyankiv, which combine elements of fantasy, horror, and transformation of the man to the dark side. His novel, Dance with bones, tells about how far human selfishness, greed and self-love can go in search of profit. How a doctor who took the Hippocratic Oath can gradually turn into a murderer.

Ukrainian writer Mykola Hohol’s mystical novel “The Viy” (translated – Eyelash) contains quite a lot of mythological remarks based on the beliefs of the people.

The Vyi is a powerful creation of the people’s imagination. This is what the Ukrainians call the oldest of the dwarves, whose eyelids go down to the ground. This whole story is a folk tale. I didn’t want to change it, so I tell it almost as simply as I heard it myself.

Note by M. Hogol
The Viy
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Cultural Insight: This novella is one of the most famous works in Ukrainian literature. Reading it can provide you with a deeper understanding of Slavic culture, traditions, and folklore.
  • Engaging Story Structure: “The Viy” is a tale packed with suspense and unexpected twists that keep readers engaged from beginning to end.
  • Symbolism: Gogol’s work is rich in symbolism, which can lead to thought-provoking discussions and deeper understanding of the narrative.
  • Gogol’s Writing Style: The author’s unique style of combining humor, horror, and reality is a treat for any literature enthusiast. His vivid descriptions create a distinct atmosphere that can captivate readers.
  • Exploration of Fear: The story delves into human fear and superstition, presenting an opportunity to explore these themes in a historical and cultural context.

As a result, horror and thriller lovers seeking a unique literary adventure should not overlook Ukrainian literature. The blend of haunting folklore, historical settings, and inventive narratives combine to deliver gripping and chilling stories that are sure to leave an indelible mark on readers.

Books on Ukraine and European Union Relations

One of the notable books to read for understanding the dynamics between Ukraine and the European Union is Ukraine, the EU, and russia: History, Culture, and International Relations. This book delves into the complex interplay of history, culture, and politics that has shaped the relations between Ukraine, the European Union and russia. The author provides a detailed overview of the challenges and opportunities facing Ukraine as it navigates its relationship with both its eastern and western neighbors.

Another important book offering insights into Ukrainian migration and its impact on the European Union is Ukrainian Migration and the European Union: Dynamics, Subjectivity, and Politics. This book examines the landscape of subjectivities in contemporary Ukraine and provides an in-depth analysis of Ukrainian migration to the European Union. It also discusses the political and social implications of the ongoing migratory trends.

For those interested in the regional development aspect of the relations, The EU’s New Borderland: Cross-border Relations and Regional Development offers valuable insights on the cross-border relations between Ukraine and Poland. The book highlights the importance of Polish-Ukrainian relations in the context of the European Union’s expansion and offers a comprehensive analysis of the challenges and prospects of regional development and cooperation.

These books offer valuable insights into various aspects of Ukraine’s relations with the European Union and its neighboring countries. They provide readers with a solid understanding of the geopolitics, cultural dimensions, and socio-economic factors shaping the region’s present and future development.

Books on Ukraine and russia (Muscovites) Relations

Ukraine and russia have a complex and intricate relationship, which has been the subject of numerous books that provide different perspectives on their history and ongoing tensions. This section briefly highlights some of the best books that can help readers understand the intricate dynamics between these two countries, including the russian war in Ukraine and the role of putin’s authoritarian regime in shaping their current relations.

“Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin” by Timothy Snyder is a key resource for understanding Ukraine-russia relations. It provides historical context about mass killings in Eastern Europe, predominantly Ukraine, shedding light on past tensions. The book details the destructive policies of Hitler and Stalin in these regions, influencing Ukraine’s national identity and its relationship with russia (Moscovia). Snyder’s expertise in Eastern European history brings credibility to his analysis. The book also explores the long-lasting effects of mass violence on societies, which can help explain current attitudes and tensions in Ukraine towards russia (Moscovia).

Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Historical Context: The book provides crucial historical context about the mass killings led by Hitler and Stalin, which occurred in Eastern Europe, predominantly in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and the Baltic states. Understanding this past helps explain the deep-seated tensions and conflicts between Ukraine and russia (Moscovia).
  • Understanding the Impact of Tyranny: Snyder’s work offers detailed insights into how both Nazi and Soviet regimes manipulated, exploited, and terrorized these regions, leading to widespread famine, genocide, and war. This history has significantly influenced Ukraine’s national identity and its relationship with russia (Moscovia).
  • Highlighting the Role of Ukraine: The book underscores the often overlooked role of Ukraine as the central battlefield where the policies of both Hitler and Stalin were most destructively applied. This focus helps readers understand Ukraine’s historical significance and why its relationship with russia (Moscovia) is so fraught.
  • Snyder’s Expertise on Eastern Europe: Snyder is a renowned historian specializing in the history of Central and Eastern Europe, and his expertise shines through in “Bloodlands.” His nuanced and thorough exploration of this period lends credibility to his analysis of Ukraine-Russia relations.
  • Exploring the Legacy of Mass Violence: Lastly, “Bloodlands” explores the long-lasting effects of mass violence on a population’s psyche. This understanding can shed light on present-day attitudes, fears, and tensions in Ukraine towards russia (Moscovia).

The Russo-Ukrainian War: The Return of History” by Serhii Plokhy is a valuable book for understanding Russo-Ukrainian relations because it:

  • Provides a deep historical context of the war conflict.
  • Offers insights from an expert in Ukrainian and russian (Muscovites) history.
  • Presents an objective analysis of the war and its implications.
  • Sheds light on the ongoing tension within Europe and its global repercussions.
  • Predicts potential future developments in the war conflict.
The Russo-Ukrainian War: The Return of History
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Deep Historical Context: Plokhy’s work provides a historical context for the russo-Ukrainian war, tracing the origins of the conflict back to centuries of shared and conflicted history. It helps readers make sense of the complex history and geopolitics that led to the current state of affairs.
  • Insights from an Expert: Serhii Plokhy is a well-regarded historian with expertise in Ukrainian and russian (Muscovites) history. His perspective provides valuable insights into the dynamics of the russo-Ukrainian relationship.
  • Objective Analysis: The book offers an objective analysis of the war and its implications for both Ukraine and russia (Moscovia), as well as the wider international community.
  • Focus on Modern Conflict: It brings attention to the less explored topic of modern conflicts within Europe, shedding light on the ongoing tension and its potential global repercussions.
  • Future Predictions: Plokhy attempts to predict how this conflict might evolve in future and what it could mean for global politics, making it relevant for those interested in geopolitics.

Ukraine: A History” by Orest Subtelny is a well-regarded historical text due to its comprehensive coverage of Ukraine’s history, authoritative and accessible writing, cultural context explanation, and updated editions. It’s an excellent choice for those interested in Ukraine’s past.

Ukraine: A History, Fourth Edition
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Depth and Breadth: The book covers the history of Ukraine from its earliest times to the present, offering a broad view of the country’s past. This includes periods of independence, times under foreign rule, and recent events.
  • Authoritative Source: Orest Subtelny was a respected historian and professor with a specialization in Ukrainian history. His expert knowledge lends credibility to his account.
  • Accessible Writing Style: Despite its academic rigor, the book is written in a style that’s accessible to non-academic readers. This makes it an engaging read for anyone interested in the subject.
  • Cultural Context: The book doesn’t just cover events and dates, but also delves into the cultural, social, and political context of different periods in Ukraine’s history. This helps readers develop a deeper understanding of the country.
  • Updated Editions: The book has been updated several times since its initial publication, ensuring that it includes recent developments in Ukraine’s history.

Lastly, War of Textbooks: History Education in Russia and Ukraine by Karina Korostelina is an interesting read that focuses on the role of history education in shaping the national narratives and identities of both countries. By analyzing history textbooks from Ukraine and russia (Moscovia), Kurbatov reveals how the governments of both countries use the education system to influence public opinion, particularly in the context of the ongoing war.

These books provide valuable insight into the complex relationship between Ukraine and russia (Moscovia), offering readers the opportunity to gain a well-rounded understanding of the historical and contemporary factors that have shaped their interactions. Through these works, one can delve deeper into the nuances of the Ukraine-russia relationship and the broader political landscape that continues to be influenced by their evolving dynamic.

Best Ukrainian Books in English Translation

Ukrainian literature offers a wealth of diverse and compelling stories, and many of these have been translated into English. For readers who want to explore the best of Ukrainian literature, these English translations provide an excellent starting point.

Death and the Penguin” by Andrey Kurkov is a darkly humorous novel that takes place in post-Soviet Ukraine. It tells the story of Viktor, a struggling writer who starts writing obituaries for living individuals to predict their deaths, while dealing with an eccentric penguin named Misha. This novel has been widely acclaimed for its unique style and gripping storytelling.

Death and the Penguin
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Unique storyline: The book offers a unique and intriguing plot revolving around a struggling writer, his pet penguin, and their entanglement in the dark world of post-Soviet politics.
  • Rich in symbolism: The character of the penguin, Misha, isn’t just a pet but a symbol representing isolation and existential angst. This adds depth and layers to the narrative.
  • Absurdist humor: Despite dealing with serious topics, the book is laced with a kind of dark, absurdist humor that keeps the narrative engaging.
  • Insight into Post-Soviet Ukraine: The book provides an insightful depiction of the chaos and corruption prevalent in Post-Soviet Ukraine, making it an interesting read for those interested in history and politics.
  • Character development: The protagonist, Viktor, is a well-rounded character with a compelling arc. His relationship with Misha the penguin adds an element of emotion and humanity to the story.
  • Lyrical prose: Kurkov’s writing style is both poetic and straightforward, making the book a pleasure to read.

Another renowned Ukrainian book available in English translation is A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian” by Marina Lewycka. This novel combines humor and pathos as it explores the lives of two elderly Ukrainian immigrants in the United Kingdom, who struggle with their past while trying to protect their family from a manipulative younger woman. This book has gained critical acclaim and enjoyed international success.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
9.4/10 Our Score

“A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian” by Marina Lewycka is a worth-reading book due to its humor, heart, cultural insight, engaging plot, and lively prose. It provides a unique perspective on Ukrainian immigrants’ life in the UK and historical context related to tractors. The book has received significant recognition, including being shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction.

For readers interested in historical fiction, The Museum of Abandoned Secrets” by Oksana Zabuzhko provides a captivating look into Ukraine’s tumultuous 20th century. The novel follows the intertwined lives of three characters, going back in time to reveal hidden truths and connections. This award-winning novel provides a profound understanding of Ukrainian history and culture.

The Museum of Abandoned Secrets
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Rich Historical Narrative: The book provides a profound exploration of Ukraine’s history, going as far back as World War II, making it a fascinating read for history enthusiasts.
  • Engaging Storyline: Zabuzhko weaves an intricate narrative that spans across multiple generations, presenting a captivating story that keeps readers constantly engaged.
  • Complex Characters: The book introduces us to a roster of complex and well-developed characters, each with their own secrets and histories, adding depth to the narrative.
  • Interplay of Past and Present: The novel masterfully intertwines past and present, providing a compelling perspective on how historical events can shape and influence present-day life.
  • Lyrical Prose: Zabuzhko’s writing style is both lyrical and evocative, adding another layer of enjoyment to the reading experience.
  • Cultural Insight: Besides history, the book also offers a deep insight into Ukrainian culture, enriching your understanding of the country and its people.

In the realm of poetry, Serhiy Zhadan’s “Voroshilovgrad has also been translated into English, offering a glimpse into the lives of Ukrainians living in an industrial city in Eastern Ukraine. The book features a mix of prose and poetry, showcasing Zhadan’s distinct voice and powerful writing.

9.4/10 Our Score
  • Diverse Characters and Settings: The book introduces you to a variety of characters each bearing their unique traits. You also get to explore the different settings in Eastern Ukraine, which gives you an idea about the socio-political and cultural aspects of the region.
  • Engaging Narrative Style: Zhadan uses a blend of humor, surrealism, and gritty reality to weave a story that is both engaging and thought-provoking. His narrative style is vibrant and keeps you engaged throughout.
  • Cultural Insight: The book provides insight into the cultural dynamics of post-Soviet Ukraine. It helps you understand the struggles and triumphs of the people living there, making it an interesting read for those interested in world cultures and history.
  • Strong Themes: “Voroshilovgrad” deals with themes like identity, politics, and societal change. These themes are explored in-depth, provoking readers to think and reflect.
  • Unique Storytelling: The novel is noteworthy for its unique storytelling. It straddles the line between reality and fantasy, creating a narrative that is both engaging and compelling.

These are just a few examples of the best Ukrainian books that have been translated into English, offering a chance for readers to explore and appreciate the rich literary traditions of Ukraine. These books provide a vivid and thought-provoking look into Ukrainian culture, history, and the human experience.

Books on LGBTQ Culture in Ukraine

Ukraine has seen a significant increase in LGBTQ+ theme books and visibility in recent times. This is due to the emergence of a new generation of LGBTQ rights activists and growing interest in queer culture. Various books have been published that explore different aspects of LGBTQ experiences in the country.

One notable example is “Ukrainian Queer Culture: The Difficult Birth“, which delves into the challenges faced by the LGBTQ community in Ukraine. The book sheds light on the emergence of new activist voices, public advocacies, and artistic expressions related to queer culture. It also examines questions about the future of queer culture in the country.

Another interesting publication is Ivan Kozlenko’s novel, “Tanzher“. This novel features a central character who is openly gay and explores themes related to LGBTQ experiences both within and outside of Ukraine. The book garnered attention both in Ukraine and among the Ukrainian diaspora, contributing to a dialogue on LGBTQ representation in the national literary canon.

The increase in queer narratives has been documented in “Ukraine: Prophets, Patriots, Punks, and Bloggers“, written by cultural journalist Oksana Forostyna. Her work surveys some of the best Ukrainian books of the time, which includes stories of love, acceptance, and identity in the LGBTQ community.

These books not only provide a glimpse into the lives of the Ukrainian LGBTQ community, but also contribute to raising awareness and promoting understanding of the diverse experiences within the country. As Ukraine continues to navigate the complexities of its modern identity, the publication of books focusing on LGBTQ culture adds nuance and depth to the evolving narrative.

Books Covering Jewish History and Events in Ukraine

One notable book that delves into the complex history of Ukraine and its Jewish population is “The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine” by Serhii Plokhy. This comprehensive book provides readers with a thoughtful analysis of various historical events, paying close attention to Ukraine’s minorities, including Poles, Jews, and other ethnic groups.

The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine
9.4/10 Our Score

“The Gates of Europe” by Serhii Plokhy provides a comprehensive history of Ukraine and its pivotal role in Europe:

  • Deep Historical Insights: The book provides an in-depth review of Ukrainian history, starting from the ancient times to the present. Great explanation regarding the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine. However some the book doesn’t adequately address some painful topics in Ukrainian history, such as the Holodomor and Ukraine’s fight for freedom during 1940-1960. And questionable claim that Gorbachev’s father was russian, in reality he was ethnic Ukrainian from Kuban Kossacks (Stavropol territory) that was previously Ukrainian Kuban land.
  • Geopolitical Importance: Understanding Ukraine’s history and its relationship with neighboring countries, particularly aggressive Russia, is crucial to understanding the geopolitical dynamics of Europe. This knowledge can be valuable for Americans who are interested in international politics or those who want to understand the background of the ongoing conflicts in the region.
  • Cultural Understanding: The book offers a look into the rich and diverse culture of Ukraine. This can help American readers appreciate the cultural tapestry of Europe and the importance of preserving national identities.
  • Contemporary Relevance: With the ongoing political tensions involving Ukraine, understanding the country’s history and identity is more important than ever. The book provides context to current events, making it a relevant read.
  • Well-Researched and Accessible: Plokhy is renowned for his academic rigor and ability to make complex histories accessible for the general public. Prof. Plokhy’s approach is balanced and aims not to offend, but rather to educate and inform.

Another book that examines the tragic history of the Holocaust in Ukraine is “The Shoah in Ukraine: History, Testimony, Memorialization“. This book offers a comprehensive account of the events that took place during the Holocaust, with a focus on Jewish-Ukrainian relations and German occupation policies. It includes testimonies from survivors, as well as discussions on the memorialization of these events.

Babi Yar, a site of mass murder of Jews in Kiev during World War II, is also explored in various publications. Some books discussing Babi Yar include “Babi Yar” by Ukrainian novelist Anatoly Kuznetsov, and Maybe Esther: A Family Story by Katja Petrowskaja.

Babi Yar
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Historical Insight: The book is a first-hand account of the Babi Yar massacre, where nearly 34,000 Jews were killed during the Holocaust. It offers an in-depth look at this horrific event and provides important historical context.
  • Personal Perspective: The author was a child living in Kyiv, Ukraine during World War II, and his experiences provide a personal and emotional perspective on the events. This makes the narrative more relatable and impactful for readers.
  • Artistic Merit: Kuznetsov’s writing style is poignant and powerful, making the book a compelling read. He uses vivid imagery and detailed descriptions to bring the events to life.
  • Cultural Significance: This book is often considered a crucial work in Holocaust literature. It’s an important reminder of the atrocities of war and the importance of remembering history to prevent similar events in the future.
  • Educational Value: “Babi Yar” can also serve as an educational tool for those wanting to learn more about the Holocaust, World War II, or European history in general.

These books provide valuable insight into the complex relationship between Ukraine and its Jewish population throughout history. They also explore the tragic events that occurred during World War II, including the Holocaust and Babi Yar, shedding light on the importance of understanding and commemorating these events to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

Books on Nature and Environment in Ukraine

Ukraine is a country with diverse landscapes and a rich natural environment. In recent years, several Ukrainian books have been published, focusing on nature and the environment. These books not only provide valuable information on the country’s natural resources and biodiversity, but also serve as a source of inspiration for people interested in environmental conservation and sustainable living.

One notable example is the book titled Along Ukraine’s River: A Social and Environmental History of the Dnipro, which explores the history of the Dnipro River. This book is unique as it attempts to provide a comprehensive overview of the river’s social, economic, and environmental aspects, finding a balance between human and natural history.

Another book that sheds light on the natural history of Ukraine is one on the ethnobotany of the Hutsuls living in the Carpathian Mountains of Bukovina, both in southwest Ukraine and northeast Romania. This research article discusses their traditional knowledge of and beliefs related to the natural environment, offering valuable insights into conservation and sustainable use of plant resources in the region.

A piece dedicated to the contemporary spiritual movement in Ukraine and its connection to nature is In Search of Deeper Identities: Neopaganism and “Native Faith” in Contemporary Ukraine. This text examines how Ukrainian neopaganism and native faith movements draw inspiration from the country’s natural environment and climate.

Lastly, a work featuring the development of book art in relation to Ukrainian natural landscapes is titled Ukrainian Book Art: Ways of Formation and Development. This publication highlights the various stages of Ukrainian book art history, showcasing how artists have drawn inspiration from Ukraine’s natural environment over time.

These books not only embrace the beauty of Ukraine’s nature but also aim to educate and inspire readers to appreciate and conserve their precious environment for future generations.

Books on Ukrainian and Eastern European Culture

The rich cultural heritage of Ukraine and Eastern Europe has been portrayed through various books over the years. In order to understand the political climate and historical background, some of the most notable books offer an in-depth view into the cultural fabric of these regions.

One significant book about the political dimensions of Eastern European culture is Romantic Nationalism in Eastern Europe: Russian, Polish, and Ukrainian Political Imaginations. This book explores the political imagination of Eastern Europe in the 1830s and 1840s, as Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian intellectuals began to identify themselves as part of a broader regional community, contributing to the development of modern national identities.

Another important work is The History of Ukraine, which outlines the main contours of Ukrainian history, alongside the country’s drive for independence. The book incorporates the author’s own research on Ukraine, dating back to 1992, and offers crucial insights into the intricate historical developments that have shaped the nation.

Mykhailo Dragomanov’s influence on Ukrainian national movement is evident in his historical book on the European Constitutions. Published in both Ukrainian and Bulgarian, the book sheds light on Dragomanov’s role in shaping the modern Ukrainian identity and strengthening the national movement against oppressive regimes.

For those interested in examining the complexities of the Ukrainian problem, The Ukraine is a detailed account that provides an overview of the nation’s shifting political landscape. The book aims to clarify the intricacies of Ukraine’s position in Eastern Europe and its struggle for self-determination.

These books serve as essential reading to understand the cultural nuances and historical context of Ukraine and Eastern Europe. Through the lenses of various authors, readers have the opportunity to delve into the intricate tapestry of political, social, and historical developments that have shaped these culturally vibrant regions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some must-read Ukrainian novels?

Some must-read Ukrainian novels include “Death and the Penguin” by Andrey Kurkov, “Voroshilovgrad” by Serhiy Zhadan, and “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” by Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky. These books delve into various aspects of Ukrainian life, history, and culture and are highly acclaimed by readers and critics alike.

Which Ukrainian children’s books are highly recommended?

Recommended Ukrainian children’s books include “How War Changed Rondo” by Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv, “The Mitten” by Jan Brett, a traditional Ukrainian folktale adaptation, “Toreadors From Vasyukivka” by Vsevolod Nestaiko, and “The Painted Fox” by Ivan Franko. These books offer engaging stories and illustrations, teaching children valuable lessons while introducing them to Ukrainian culture and values.

Who are some famous contemporary Ukrainian authors?

Famous contemporary Ukrainian authors include Andrey Kurkov, Oksana Zabuzhko, Serhiy Zhadan, and Yurii Andrukhovych. Their works encompass a wide range of genres such as fiction, poetry, and essays, and are considered influential in shaping modern Ukrainian literature.

Where can I find Ukrainian books translated into English?

Ukrainian books translated into English can be found at online bookstores like Amazon or specialized websites focusing on translated literature. Additionally, libraries and local bookstores in cities with a significant Ukrainian community may also carry translated Ukrainian books.

What are the top modern Ukrainian literature works?

Top modern Ukrainian literature works include “Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex” by Oksana Zabuzhko, “Voroshilovgrad” by Serhiy Zhadan, and “Perverzion” by Yurii Andrukhovych. These books have been praised for their bold exploration of contemporary issues, original storytelling, and contributions to the development of Ukrainian literature.

Which novels offer the best insight into Ukraine’s history and culture?

Novels like “Sobor” by Oles Honchar, “The Stone Cross” by Vasyl Stefanyk and “The White Chalk of Days: The Contemporary Ukrainian Literature Series Anthology” by Mark Andryczyk offer valuable insights into Ukraine’s history and culture. These works span different time periods and events in Ukrainian history, enabling readers to gain a comprehensive understanding of the nation’s rich cultural heritage.

Who is the most famous ukrainian writer in modern times?

One of the most famous Ukrainian writers in modern times is Serhiy Zhadan. Known for his novels, poetry, and essays, Zhadan has been a significant figure in Ukrainian literature since the 1990s. His work often explores themes of post-Soviet society and Ukrainian identity. His most famous works include “Voroshilovgrad”, “Depeche Mode”, and “Mesopotamia”.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here