CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 9 . . . . December 22, 2006
For the most part, this book is focused on the heroics of hardship, struggle and survival, -- a beginner’s course in Ukrainian victimology, so to speak. The 20 pieces found in this collection (many written as personal experience narratives) are arranged somewhat loosely in historical order to span a century of happenings beginning with the Ukrainian immigrant-pioneering experience in Western Canada (early 1900s) and ending with the Canadian response to political events in contemporary Ukraine. The result is a kind of interpretive survey with an overriding emphasis on historical reality peppered with heavy doses of melodrama and nostalgia. Luckily, several selections manage to break through this pattern and offer insights that are truly fresh and imaginative. In this regard, the following deserve to be cited: “It’s Me, Tatia” by Brenda Hasiuk, “A Song for Kataryna” by Linda Mikolayenko, “Memories of Volodymyr Serotiuk’s Birthday” a poem by Sonja Dunn, “A Bar of Chocolate” by Natalia Buchok, and Larry Warwaruk’s “Bargain.”
From a scholarly perspective, however, this book falls seriously short due to an excess of erroneous references and misleading assumptions. Moreover, the editing is inconsistent and sometimes plain sloppy. These are serious drawbacks that devalue Kobzar’s Children and detract from its attempt to provide a reflection of the Ukrainian Canadian experience. Less serious, albeit questionable, is the collection’s unexplained bias in favor of living authors writing in English only and its curious predilection for feminine writers (12 females represented by 17 items versus three males with only three selections).
All in all, Kobzar’s Children ends up looking like an exercise in scrapbooking that’s characteristically filled with passion and sincerity yet somehow wanting.
Recommended with reservations.
Robert B. Klymasz (Ph. D.) who is a researcher/archivist, resides in Winnipeg, MB, and is Curator (Emeritus) with the Canadian Museum of Civilization, (Gatineau, PQ).
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.