New Looks at Kobylyanska. Happiness Way Search.

Olga Salipa. ‘Olya’. – Folio, 2020.

I am sure that you know who Olga Kobylyanska is. She is a very strong woman, a wonderful writer and translator. But do you know anything about her personal life? After reading ‘Olya,’ it will seem to you that you absolutely do not know Kobylyanska, mentioned in the work, which, incidentally, won the nomination ‘Novels’ at the International Literary Competition ‘Coronation of the Word’ on July 1, 2020.

The author shared that she worked with a lot of literature to create a novel. “It was very difficult to write about Olga Kobylyanska, because a lot had already been written about her, even by herself. I asked myself: was she exactly the one she wanted us to see? Because she wrote letters and diaries, and there was so much more,” Salipa summed up about her work.

The novel is about Olga Kobylyanska’s personal life, namely, what role was played by love in her life, what Olga was like in romantic relationships, and what she longed for as a woman. The work wonderfully reveals her relationship with Osip Makovei, whom she called as the ideal man. Was he really like that and would their relationships become the happiness for Olga she so longed for?

Probably, Salipa wanted to describe how a writer and an ordinary woman who wanted simple warmth and ‘female happiness’ fought in Kobylyanska` soul. This is one of the most important themes in the book, and women’s happiness is often discussed in the novel. First of all, whether a woman should be only a mother and a wife, whether a girl with a strong character can be loved and whether she needs it at all.

In addition to relationships with men, the book also deals with relationships with the writer’s family and friends, including Augusta Kokhanovska and Lesya Ukrainka.

First of all, the novel ‘Olya’ is a completely new look at Olga Kobylyanska. The reader may think that he or she is reading about another Olya, because everyone is used to imagining the writer wrong. But the author opens a new Kobylyanska for us. Although talking about her as an ordinary woman, Salipa distinguishes her from the usual portrait of a strong independent woman, a successful writer and creates another impressive image.

The plot is built logically, but the structure is a bit confusing. The story begins with a meeting in 1941 between Kobylyanska and a young student, who awakens in Olga Yulianivna personal memories. Then the reader jumps in the intimate and interesting moments of her life…

All the characters, both major and minor, are well revealed. The author’s writing style is simple and clear.

The work also raises such modern issues as feminism, the fate of women, happiness, love, relationships between men and women, friendship and even more. Therefore, the novel feels volumetric.

The novel is easy and fast to read, it causes a lot of reflection on various topics, covers the lives of not only one woman but also people in the late nineteenth – the early twentieth century. It conveys the atmosphere of that time perfectly. My rating is 9/10.

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