The Language of War (Paperback)
  • The Language of War (Paperback)
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The Language of War (Paperback)

(author)
£18.99
Paperback 304 Pages
Published: 13/06/2024
  • 10+ in stock

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Waterstones Says

Deftly blending the everyday with the horrific, Mykhed's gut-punch of a memoir chronicles the transformation of his quiet Ukrainian suburb into a warzone.

When everyday life becomes a state of emergency, how can yesterday’s words suffice?

‘We were so happy and didn’t know it…’

A thirty-three-year-old writer lives in a quiet European suburb with his wife and his dog. His parents have bought an apartment nearby. On weekends they go out for brunch, cook and see friends. Life is good; it is normal. Then the invaders come.

The Language of War is about what happens when your world changes overnight. When you wake up to the sound of helicopters and the smell of gunpowder. When your home is hit by shells or broken into by gunmen, and you spend another night in a basement-turned-bomb shelter. When, even though you’ve never held a weapon before, you realise the only choice is to fight back. It is about things one can never forget, or forgive.

Bringing together Oleksandr Mykhed’s vivid day-by-day chronicles of the invasion of Ukraine with a chorus of other voices – his family, friends in exile, those who have fought and have witnessed unimaginable atrocities – this book is both a record, and a reckoning. Haunting and timeless, it asks how it is possible to find the words to describe a new reality; how you can still make sense of the world when the only language you can speak is the language of war.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241690840
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 316 g
Dimensions: 216 x 135 x 23 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

What role for the artist in times of catastrophe? An important book and a painful piece of history… brilliant - Luke Harding, Observer

A vivid account of invasion and the struggle to find the words to describe a new reality: war - Financial Times

A harrowing recount of life as a Ukrainian during the first months of Russia’s invasion – a timely reminder of its ever-presence for the millions living through it. It is, in that sense, a book not about Ukraine but about Ukrainians. . . it will compel you to care - Independent

In The Language of War, the author himself is the eyewitness… the book brims with horror… Mykhed wields a skilful, angry pen - Economist

Before 24 February 2022, writer Oleksandr Mykhed and his wife, Olena, had an enviable life. In 2018 they’d bought a three-storey townhouse in Hostomel, a suburb of Kyiv. On Saturdays, they’d go out for brunch and walk their dog in the forest... Then came 24 February... Within less than a week, life had completely transformed... The Language of War is a book written in the moment, charting the first year of Russia's invasion... scattering fragments of his exploded past through the brutal reality of a grindingly violent present - Charlotte Higgins, Observer

Each piece of writing here helps us to understand a reality that we can and must repair. This book has helped me and will help anyone who wishes to understand war - Timothy Snyder, author of ON TYRANNY

In this vital work, Mykhed takes on the challenge of finding a language to convey the horror and absurdity of war, and succeeds with devastating impact. One cannot ever truly capture the reality and enormity of war, but can only document fragments of events and snapshots of people’s lives. Mykhed skilfully collates these fragments - recollections, anecdotes, portraits and conversations, interspersed with a catalogue of war crimes - into a uniquely powerful account of what has happened to our country and our people since February 2022. Both deeply personal and of universal and lasting significance, this book should be required reading for humankind - Mstyslav Chernov, Oscar-winning director of 20 DAYS IN MARIUPOL

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