Of Murder and Memory

I didn’t find who attacked my great-grandfather with an axe. But I think I learned who didn’t.

“History bleeds into the present in Tanya Zaharchenko’s investigation of her family history in Ukraine’s eastern town of Kharkiv, replete with axe-wielding criminals, chandelier-adorned mansions, and a long-unsolved assassination.” — editors’ blurb


Il Saracino

Dating back to the Crusades and the raids of the Saracens, the Saracen Joust is a competitive historical reenactment set in the Middle Ages.

Efim, Emil, and Eksi

There was a man in the Kharkiv of my childhood. He lived very centrally, somewhere in the numerous green courtyards right off the city’s main square (if I remember correctly). His name sounded like sand on a windy beach: Efim Isaakovich.

Russian Sketch 2

Bus number 7 was taking its time. I stood on a bus stop on Shkiperskii Protok, watching the sky for signs of rain, on my way to the Hermitage for a BBC World Service recording. An elderly lady in a purple beret stood nearby, counting change in her hand.

Drobitsky Yar – 2

A shortened version of the Drobitsky Yar piece is printed in the Memory at War newsletter (Issue No. 11, October 2012) — just in time to mark the October 24 anniversary of the occupation of Kharkov.

Il Palio: a Lesson in Boundaries

After these two PhD years, by the end of Easter term, I was understandably ready for a little break – ideally, away from Slavonics, and ideally, away from memory studies in general. So when an opportunity cropped up to spend some time in Siena this summer, I jumped at the chance. And who wouldn’t?

Massacre of Ray

I’ve been wanting to write this down for quite a while – for a year, actually. There is a place in Donegal which, to me, represents memory and memory studies combined. But in a bizarre turn of events, it is all but remembered in the wider world.

Death and the Maiden: Roberto’s Choice

“She’s mad, she needs therapy.” — “You are her therapy.” When I watched Ariel Dorfman’s “Death and the Maiden” (directed by Roman Polanski in 1994) for the first time, I had just entered my teens. And I remember feeling overcome by something that felt like a silver-lined cloud. The silver lining was a sense of…