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Andrii Liubka’s Carbide: Ukrainian democratic reforms through a dark glass

Faculty Advisor




contemporary Ukrainian literature, European integration, Andrii Liubka, neo-Gothic, (social) abjection

Abstract (summary)

The Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine and its reforms are the topics of Andrii Liubka’s novel Karbid (Carbide, 2015). Employing Voltairean laughter and neo-Gothic aesthetics, Liubka presents the idea of European integration (one of the expected outcomes of the reforms) implemented practically by the corrupt elites of the imagined Transcarpathian town of Vedmediv as a money-laundering enterprise – an underground tunnel for smuggling drugs and people’s organs from Ukraine to Europe. The author proposes that the elites – most of whom are criminals – personify Julia Kristeva’s concept of abjection in the novel and represent social spheres that need reform. Contrary to the Euromaidan goals, these comprador elites desire even stronger borders between Ukraine and the European Union, as these facilitate their shadow economy, and they subject the local population to economic and social decline, turning them into disposable human waste. By applying the concept of abjection in its psychoanalytic and social forms to Liubka’s tragicomic novel, the author argues that his text points to Ukraine’s struggle to define itself as “West” and shed its totalitarian legacy of the Soviet “East,” and brings attention to the conflict between the post-Euromaidan national strivings of Ukraine’s citizens and the rampant corruption that negates their efforts.

Publication Information

Krys, S., “Andrii Liubka’s Carbide: Ukrainian Democratic Reforms through a Dark Glass.” Canadian Slavonic Papers, special issue “Postcoloniality and Neo-Gothic Fictions in the Post-Soviet Space,” vol. 61, no. 4, 2019, pp. 399-419.


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