Svetlana LavochkinaMar 23, 2023
Whiskey Tit 2018
Svetlana Lavochkina's book Dam Duchess (Whiskey Tit, 2018) invites readers to take a surreal journey into the past: the construction of Dnipro Dam, the Stalinist regime, the fate of the aristocrats of the Russian Empire, the horrors of the Holodomor, the memory of the Cossack Hetmanate that travels from generation to generation, the Soviet harrowing of life and psyche. To survive in the Soviet Union, one has to learn how to adjust to the system that embraces fear and intimidation to impose a distorted sense of loyalty and comradeship. Agreements can certify the collapse of empires, but the individual’s memory of violence sanctioned by brutal regimes will travel through years, decades, and generations. Lavochkina’s Dam Duchess calls for compassion that can easily be lost once terror is normalized.
Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed has a Ph.D. in Slavic languages and literatures (Indiana University, 2022). Her dissertation explores contested memory focusing on Ukraine and Russia. She also holds a Ph.D. in American literature (Taras Shevchenko Institute of Literature, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 2007). In her dissertation on Richard Brautigan, she focuses on postmodernism in American literature. Currently, she is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Russian and Eurasian program at Colgate University (Hamilton, NY).