About the story “Rapunzel”
by Vlad Arenev
They may die, but they do not disappear; but rather transform into something completely different. The garden gnomes. Figure candles. A beer brand, a movie character, a print on a t-shirt.
They continue to exist through their own shadows.
This transformation did not begin yesterday: At some point, the realization set in that simple concepts are clearer, while memory is fleeting and fading away, always liable to be replaced by a colorful movie scene, a children’s book, a popular encyclopedia, or a computer game. ‘Plus five to strength at night, hypersensitive to silver, inhabits cemeteries.’
A kind old domovyk, a beautiful and dangerous rusalka, a stern lisovyk… All of them became part of a “folk culture” in their simplified equivalents. But the real stories – the ones that our great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers believed in – they are forgotten. Stories where dead ancestors are close to the world of the living: they can punish bad behavior, but they are also capable of assisting or saving a person from trouble.
When I started thinking about how our actual ancestors would react to everything their descendants have to face in the 20th century… then the story I wanted to write, fell into place. At first I thought of writing about the Great Hunger, but circumstances changed, and the story of Holodomor became something bigger and greater, something that I will still continue to write about.
“Rapunzel” is another part of the story about our world, where the mythical creatures of folk tales live not only on pages of children’s books but in reality as well. I’m grateful to Margret for the opportunity to have this tale made available in English, and I hope that I will soon get a chance to tell other stories about this universe – and to bring them, the real ones, back to life, to reality.
Translation by Mike Olivson.
Vlad Arenev is a science fiction and fantasy award winning writer, editor and screenwriter from Ukraine. This Kievite author has published more than 30 books and over 250 short stories — they can be found in numerous magazines and collections, and in languages such as Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, English, French, German, Estonian, and Lithuanian, to name a few. The most popular of Vlad’s books are his books for teenagers and his YA work. Soulhold (2014), Dragonbone Powder (2015), Doghead’s Child (2018), and Sapienses (2019) have been awarded various literary awards, including ESFS Awards (Best Creator of Children’s Science Fiction or Fantasy Books, Dublin 2014), New Horizons (Moscow 2014), and Barabooka (Best Fantasy Novel for YA, 2018), and have also been nominated for awards, like the BBC Book of the Year (Best Book for Children, 2019). Find out more on Vlad’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/volodymyr.arenev