The Cathedrale by Oles Honchar

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The Cathedrale

Oles Honchar

Author I geb.1918 (Russia) t 1995 First edition l 1968 Publisher I Harper & Row (New York) Orig. title I Sobor (untert.)

The Cathedral of Oles Honchar is an important w of the Ukrainian literary movement of the Yat sixty, which questioned the norms of the ‘socialist realisr’, both on the artistic level and v concerns the attention to the historical and cultural heritage of Ukraine. The story takes place in a city on Dnjepr, the location of a metal factory in Soviets: which, however, is still reminiscent of the time of Ukraine’s unwieldy Cossacks. That time is symbolized by a dilapidated cathedral that was built by converted Cossacks in the eighteenth century. It is now used as a grain silo, but, authorities want to demolish it and replace it with e, market hall. For the protagonist, Mykola, a study of metallurgy, the cathedral stands for the spiritual values ignored by the Soviet Union1 The more the cathedral is in danger, the more the townspeople become aware of its meaning. The debate on demolition or preservation becomes eE allegory for the struggle between historical identite and the image of ideologues of ‘a Soviet man’. But the novel is much more than an allegory, a brilliant portrait of a city in the dark Soviet period - almost without young men, a jonç woman fighting for the necessary papers to leave c collective farm and go study industrial pollution and stupid bureaucratl The novel is an enduring proclamation: “Where there is no vision, people die”.