A conversation with Yuriy Vynnychuk, author of “The Tango of Death” during the 29 Economic Forum

The cultural programme of this year’s Economic Forum will be enriched by meeting with famous Ukrainian writer Yuriy Vynnychuk, who will present his book “The Tango of Death”. This novel is considered one of the most important Ukrainian books of recent years. “The Tango of Death” was awarded the BBC Ukrainian Book of the Year prize, the most prestigious award in contemporary Ukrainian literature.

“Yuriy Vynnychuk’s novel is a remarkable literal cocktail. Ukrainian borrowed from Umberto Eco and Borges, but also from Dan Brown. Bruno Schulz and Bohumil Hrabal are also patronating him. Under the Vynnychuk’s pen, the old Lviv arises as it is – an ancient, lost land, a multi-faceted, sweet-bitter myth, more a fantasy, than a result of “reconstruction” subordinated to the desire of “regaining the past” – wrote Dariusz Nowacki in his review for “Gazeta Wyborcza” daily.

“The Tango of Death” is a novel, which shows the multiculturalism of Lviv, that is interrupted by the Second World War. The dramatic history of the true friendship of Pole, Ukrainian, Jew and the German, reinforced with Yuriy Vunnychuk’s great sense of humor. In the second part of the book, author describes the present times and tells the story of professor Jarosh who is trying to uncover the mystery of the title “Tango of Death”.

The author combines fanciful tales with historical facts. While working on a novel for eight years, Vynnychuk investigated the ancient legends and stories about the old Lviv. The book, which is very popular in Ukraine and in many European countries had already been translated into English, Russian, German, Bulgarian and Croatian. Now it is available for Polish readers. The novel was published last year and translated by the poet and prose Bohdan Zadura.

Yuriy Vynnychuk (born 1952) is a Ukrainian writer, linguist, journalist and editor, who lives in Lviv. He graduated from the Faculty of Philology at the Subcarpathian National University in Ivano-Frankivsk. Member of the Association of Ukrainian Writers and PEN International. His works were translated in England, Argentina, Belarus, Canada, Germany, Serbia, USA, France, Croatia, Czech Republic and Bulgaria. In Poland was previously published his book “The pubs of Lviv” (2001). Two cartoons based on his fairy tales were filmed. Author of translations from Celtic, Slavic and English. Double-winner of the most prestigious Ukrainian literary award BBC Book of the Year.