Published by Fakt, Kiev
Literaturverlag Droschl, Graz
Rights acquired by
Edicije Bozicevic, Zagreb
Set in tumultous contemporary Ukraine, this intircate story of love, sex, friendship, and death is centered around three women, two of them - Daryna, a TV director, and Vlada, a painter - living in our time, and the third one, Olena, died in the World War II in the ranks of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. One day Daryna is struck by the picture of Olena which she picked in the archive, and starts a documentary based on Olena's story. That's how she meets Olena's grandson and fells in love with him. Soon, however, discovers Daryna that their love is overshadowed with the dark secrets of the silenced past, and that the dead may find their posthumous ways of going on with their interrupted missions...
"Secrets", the key metaphor of the book, has a double meaning. It was the name of a game little girls in Ukraine played back in the 1960s and 1970s - they dug a hole in the ground, embellished it with colourful stuff, and then made it inconspicuous for the strangers. "Secrets" is also the title of the series of paintings by Daryna's best friend Vlada, who did it on perception that the game of their childhood had in fact come from the times of the Bolshevik advent, when women had to hide family icons into the ground. The series made Vlada famous, and won her money, but shortly after this she dies in a rather enigmatic car accident in which her paintings disappear from her car.
Daryna now faces two mysteries, two women's deaths separated in time by sixty years, both of which have so dramatically interferred with her life. Does the past ever pass? Should one "dig up" the "abandoned secrets" of history, or would it be better, for the sake of safety, to never touch them? And how do we come to terms with the traumas of the past which we don't know we'd inherited, once they are so unexpectedly revealed?
While men act as the agents of history, women stay its invisible keepers - that's what Daryna understands. Now it's her turn to pronounce the silenced things for the others...