Novelist Eva Gata: A Revitalizing Force in Ukrainian Literature

Born in Lviv, Ukraine, Eva Gata is an assistant professor of applied mathematics turned novelist who hopes to redirect the course of Ukrainian literary history.  Gata’s literary career grew from her gatainterest in writing as a hobby and in reading philosophical works.  Among her most popular novels are Become the Sun and Musical Murals.  Her most successful work, Born in the Spring, or the Path to the Crown of the Kingdom, appeared on the long list for BBC Ukraine’s BBC Book of the Year 2012.

 

 

 

 

Many of Gata’s characters hope to achieve a sense of freedom by traveling or settling abroad.  This motif undoubtedly resonates with young Ukrainians today, many of whom, especially young women, have chosen to emigrate from their homeland.  Moreover, Gata’s books, which draw inspiration from Ukrainian folklore and magical stories, unite Ukrainians in spite of Ukraine’s current political climate by paying homage to Ukrainian culture.  Though Gata rejects the notion of classifying books by genre, she calls her works ‘philosophical mystical novels,’ and boldly asserts that their purpose is to ‘change the world for the better.’

 

Ukraine’s literary history is marked by censorship, the destruction of bookshops, and a lack ogata2f coverage of literature in the media.  Unfortunately, as a result, Ukrainian literature remains little known worldwide, let alone in Ukraine.  Gata believes Ukrainian literature needs to move in a new direction; certainly, her novels represent a first step towards this positive change.  In her writings and in interviews, Gata has noted that many modern Ukrainian writers employ techniques such as the discussion of unusual situations and the use of profanity to draw the attention of readers on a superficial level; however, the works of writers that resort to these gimmicks often prove hollow.  According to Gata, in these shallow works authors fail to present the novel’s central problem or tragedy until its conclusion.  Thus, Gata fears Ukraine suffers from a paucity of books offering usable solutions to social problems.  Fortunately, Gata’s novels, which notably all have happy endings, seek to remedy this issue, thereby reviving Ukrainian literature.

Gata takes an interest in all human lives.  Through her novels, she attempts to communicate the varied perspectives of different groups of people to her readers.  According to Gata’s personal philosophy, an understanding of different philosophies facilitates the resolution of problems between people.  She insists that working to understand philosophy should be an important part each person’s life.  Primarily, she believes that everyone has the capacity to achieve harmony and become free by understanding the ‘unity of man and nature.’  Gata writes her novels to guide her readers towards this crucial sense of understanding.

The philosophical message contained in Gata’s novels is intended for a universal audience.  Hoping to redefine preconceptions of female authors, characters, and readers, Gata stresses that she does not see her reader as gendered.  Gata laments that often when a male author writes about a female protagonist, people perceive both men and women as the intended audience, citing Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina as an example; by contrast, when a female author writes about a female protagonist, people perceive women alone as the intended audience.  Gata rejects this absurd double standard.  Her books, popular with members of both genders, have begun the process of redefining the role of women in Ukrainian literature.  Ultimately, Gata’s artful novels simultaneously honor Ukraine’s literary heritage and represent an important turning point in the evolution of Ukrainian literature

Hannah Farrell

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