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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Поклоніння ящірці

Любко Дереш

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Title: Поклоніння ящірці
Author: Любко Дереш
Genre: Novel
Written: 2002
Length: 176 pages
Original in: Ukrainian
Availability: Die Anbetung der Eidechse - Deutschland
  • Поклоніння ящірці has not yet been translated into English
  • Written in 2000, first published in a magazine in 2002 and in book form in 2004

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Our Assessment:

B : entertaining enough glimpse of teen life in Ukraine

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
NZZ . 7/4/2007 Ulrich M. Schmid

  From the Reviews:
  • "Die Anbetung der Eidechse bietet eine spannende Lektüre, ist aber künstlerisch nicht immer auf der Höhe. (...) Gleichwohl findet Deresch in seinem Roman einen eigenen Ton, der symptomatisch für den Neubeginn der ukrainischen Literatur im 21. Jahrhundert ist." - Ulrich M. Schmid, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Поклоніння ящірці is set in Ukraine in the early stages of the post-Soviet collapse, in the summer of 1993. Deresch was only sixteen when he wrote it (in 2000), but chose to set it not in the (slightly) more settled present but in that more uncertain time. But with a teenage protagonist, it turns out to be more self-centred, rather than really trying to present a larger picture of the times.
       The novel is set in Midni Buky (the locale of Культ, too), where the teenage narrator Misko spends the summer by himself in the family dacha, his parents and he agreeing that some time apart is the best thing for all of them. With little money, but free to do as he pleases, he whiles away the summer with adventures big and small. Indeed, Поклоніння ящірці covers many of the teenage universals -- with much of its appeal in the Ukrainian spin to these.
       Music-obsessed Misko of course plays in a band, and music plays an important role. Jim Morrison, in Lizard King-form, is particularly significant, and Misko hoping that he too can sing: "I'm the Lizard King / I can do anything."
       Misko only has two friends in town, the 'Smooth Hippie' and Dswinka. Among the adventures of the summer is a camping trip with Dswinka on which he loses his virginity, among the more successful sustained episodes, as Deresch describes their lengthy march, what they lug along, and the reactions of the locals they pass along the way.
       There's also a menacing bully, the town hooligan, Fedja, and it comes to several escalating confrontations with him. As it turns out, Fedja also has some nasty history with Dswinka, and she (and Hippie) want (and deserve) revenge -- teenage rage that festers and builds, leading to the most dramatic events in the book.
       Поклоніння ящірці nicely captures both teenage aimlessness and ambition, and Misko and his obsessions -- music, Edgar Allan Poe -- and his adolescent relationship with Dswinka, as well as Hippie's influence, make for a sympathetic account of teenage life, a "one-summer"-novel that, while hardly very original, is nevertheless accomplished and appealing. What's particularly interesting is how the basics are so very universal, and then how local colour colours events, making for an interesting picture of a slice of contemporary Ukraine.
       Not really remarkable, but worthwhile -- and it should have considerable appeal to a younger audience.

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Поклоніння ящірці: Reviews: Other books by Ljubko Deresch under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Ukrainian author Любко Дереш (Ljubko Deresch) was born in 1984.

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© 2006-2007 the complete review

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