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Yuriy Shcherbak (1934) is a former Ukrainian ambassador, the founder of Ukraine's Green Party, an epidemiologist, and, above all, a writer. His father was arrested by the NKVD at the time Yuri was born and the family was evacuated from Ukraine during World War Two. He began his literary career in the mid fifties while still at medical school.
Shcherbak's literary output over the past 60 years is vast and genre busting; spanning imaginative fiction, screen plays and dramas. One of his most important early works, The Chronicle of Yaropol Town (1968), is almost a magic realist novel. The book splices myth and fairy tale with an occasionally plausible history of a Ukrainian town. He became known internationally when he wrote his documentary novel, Chornobyl (1987-1991), which describes the aftermath of the 1986 explosion.
It was only natural that Yuriy becane a founder of Ukraine's Green Party. He saw, at first hand, the effects of radiation in Ukraine's dead zone. His political and diplomatic work led him to abandon literature for a while, but Realm of Darkness, originally published as Chas Smertokhrystiv (2011), shows that there is life in this old, literary dog. The novel playfully uses the conventions of sci-fi to project how the world could look in 2077 and pokes fun at contemporary Ukrainian reality. The book is a post apocalyptic saga of love, vengeance and betrayal. When you pick it up you will find it glues itself to your palms until you have turned the last page. This is the novel Gogol might have written had he been born in 2050, survived a nuclear war, and steadied his nerves daily with half a litre of vodka. Check out the future ... if you dare.