Lucky Breaks, by Yevgenia Belorusets

Staff Pick

The Donbas is both a battle ground and a region where ordinary people try to live their lives. Starting with her title—when is something as traumatic as a break “lucky”?-- Belorusets’s powerful collection of photos and brief stories (they range from two sentences to three pages) focuses on such dualities, even as the surrealism of Ukraine splinters into yet more ambiguities, which people try to control through various strategies of magical thinking.  In this “land of residual phenomena,” words provide “form rather than meaning” and nothing is definitive: the situation is neither peace nor war, but “something else.” Exactly what else is conveyed in a series of scenes and, especially, voices. Though many of these scraps are cast as interviews or reference an ”interlocutor,” most become monologues, a move that highlights the difficulty of maintaining connections but also the power of the individual voice and the irrepressible drive to tell one’s story.  Like the women who navigate new dangers each day, we never know where any of these fragments will take us: a tale that starts “once upon a time,” ends in a character with “a needle near her heart.” And when happiness occurs it “falls out of thin air”—much as a bomb might.

 

Lucky Breaks Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811229845
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: New Directions - March 1st, 2022