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Oleh Shynkarenko (1976) grew up in Zaporizhia, a smokestack town in South Ukraine near the site of a historic Cossack fortress.
Inevitably, he gravitated towards the capital, Kyiv, where he has lived since 2008. Oleh is a journalist, trained engineer and
experimental musician. His stories reflect this multiplicity of interests, mingling quantum physics, linguistics and absurdist humour,
and constantly confound the reader's expectations.
Oleh wrote his most important novel to date, Kaharlyk, while Ukraine was undergoing the Euromaidan/ Revolution of Dignity in
2014/2015. Ukrainians piled barricades of burning tyres on the streets of their capita and overthrew a dictator who had an estate that
was roamed by ostriches, and palaces that would have made Nreo blush. Oleh covered the news of the revolution for a number of
English language outlets, including The Daily Beast, while working on his book. Kaharlyk is a novel that constantly flips the reader's
expectations on their head. It reads like Cormac McCarthy's The Road, or Gulliver's Travels - but only of Jonathan Swift had washed
down a hefty dose of magic mushrooms with a litre of vodka.
The book began on Facebook as a series of bulletins from an alternative reality. Oleh created fragments of concrete music, mixing sounds such as Serbiam liturgical melodies, washing machines and cows mooing, to develop a soundscape for his world. The book is written entirely in blocks of 100 words. Andrei Kurkov describes it as a 'hologrammatic' novel, a series of 'beautifully crafted puzzles'.