Saturday, July 2, 2022

the last book I ever read (Andrey Kurkov's Ukraine Diaries: Dispatches from Kiev, excerpt thirteen)

from Ukraine Diaries: Dispatches from Kiev by Andrey Kurkov:

Saturday 1 March

Liza reacted without surprise to the appearance of satellite television in our country house. I explained that I had bought it because we may all have to leave the village if the situation becomes increasingly serious and dangerous. The calm and orderliness in Kiev are false. People everywhere suddenly have guns. Thieves and robbers are returning.

I went to the village post office, thinking of buying some khrenovukha–vodka with horseradish. I still find it strange that alcohol is sold in rural post offices; this never happens in Kiev. But this time they didn’t have any. All the other products you usually find there were on the shelves: sunflower oil, tins of fish, buckwheat kasha, margarine … But I felt like buying a bottle of vodka and a stamp, so I could stick the stamp directly to the label and give it to someone as a souvenir …

What if Ukraine became civilised overnight and alcohol was no longer sold in country post offices? I don’t believe that will happen! Something of the past must remain. Although, the less that remains, the better off we will be.

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