Ivan Baidak is a Ukrainian writer, whose first book ‘Me Personally to You Personally’ has become a bestseller and is already well-known among the Ukrainian readers. He is a skilled prosaist, fiction is almost his lifestyle. Debut novel is written in unknown for Ukrainian literature form of hypertext, so the author gave readers the opportunity to become their own story writer.
The book of short stories “Role games” fully revealed the author’s skills while critics called him one of the most interesting and talented Ukrainian writers.
This time the author turns from a lost romantic into a mature cynic. The intellectual philosophy of the book runs deep. It concerns the pursuit of life sense and quality. The author and reader are watching life, or, more likely, some supernatural forces put together adventure fragments into a jigsaw puzzle of destiny. ‘Role Games’ is a collection of ten challenging and exciting short stories with characters often having to decide what role to play in their situation.
The works of Ivan Baidak include the author’s complex psychological, original style, genre and stylistic diversity. Writer’s quotations are rapidly spreading on the Internet. Ivan Baidak has one of the largest Ukrainian writing blogs.
in original: Іван Байдак, ‘Рольові ігри’
Today’s literature process in Ukraine is as simple as it is complicated. Unknown becomes known and eventually disappoints. Words flow from everywhere, and one can hardly make out the chorus “listen to me… read me” of that cacophony. The author is driven mad by information excess when composing the text in which words really matter.
We are now certainly on threshold of something new, non-tendentious and unusual in the literature; calm changes to a storm of new feelings, styles, voices, not used to looking back at the past, do without sovietisms or obsolete clichés.
Ivan Baidak is a new wave writer, not spoiled by literary groups, convictions and principles. Moreover, he is a prosaist, that is, only prosaist and not a poet run out of inspiration who wants to do some prose for a change. His first novel Особисто я особисто тобі (Me Personally to You Personally) of 2013 has gained much critical approval and reader’s love less than in a year. But the main thing here, doubtlessly, is not PR, or favourable literary connections or prize winning – the main thing is that he is one of those few people sensing the word and feeling affection to every sentence, of those who can spend hours working at one episode to make his best of it.
The new Baidak’s book Role Games is a collection of ten short stories: challenging, exiting, diverse. The readers will be surprised, to say the least, comparing the book with Me Personally to You Personally – no hypertext this time, no linearity, the eventful plot of the stories absorbs the reader with every page, and the philosophic fragments will be again widely quoted. Each of the texts will attract, enhance and supplement the previous one, and the dynamism sometimes accelerates the action, sometimes slows it down to smoothness.
You will see both new and old Baidak: now a sarcarstic cynic who has keys from all the doors and never opens them just because finds it senseless, now a self-critical romantic, sometimes a daredevil about-turning the events to reach his goal.
We are not used to comparing the author’s life with his texts, but what do we mean by text? It’s what he wanted to say in the reality, but found another way to. Because what is life? It is the set of masks we change in different situations, having forgotten which of them was the initial one, and which is real. Life is a constant change of roles in this vortex of events. Life is a game and everyone plays as they want. These are the Role Games of Ivan Baidak!
Collection of short stories.
Published in August, 2014.
Original language: Ukrainian.
‘Me Personally to You Personally’
in original: Іван Байдак, ‘Особисто я особисто тобі’
Ivan Baidak is a young Lviv writer, the author of the book confidently entering the literature process of XXI century. This book is his novel Me Personally to You Personally. The novel is really new and fresh, for it is written in a special way: the use of hypertext and a kind of free choice of the plot are the features the Ukrainian reader is ready to perceive and appreciate.
The novel widely exposes the psychology of human relations: falling in love, passion, tenderness, intrigues – in the contemporary context. The main character has to undergo a lot of ordeals of time, patience, feelings. What will happen to him? Will he change after meeting his fate face to face – or wage a fight against it?
The central image of the novel Me Personally to You Personally is thirty years old Yura, who lives a life of a typical successful programmer: an apartment in a big city, job in a prestigious firm, pretty girls and a status of Don Juan in Kyiv and Lviv. He is pleased with his life and proud of its stability. Yura is a ladies’ man, he admires women and they inspire him. He takes the best from each of them, so becomes fastidious. The main character cannot live without the state of falling in love. He is an artist in finding grace, beauty, fine figure or simply naturalness. Yura hardly thinks if he needs the only one until Sasha storms into his life. When she appears, she triggers a quick and unexpected succession of events.
The plot of the novel is dynamic. It involves road trip as a symbol of change and meditation, there is a lot of sex, coffee and thoughts the author narrates sporadically in the first person. It is worth mentioning that secondary characters play an important part in the novel. They help Yura to understand himself, and the reader – to indulge in the events of the novel. The main idea of the book is the importance to get rid of all the fears of your future, to give yourself, or, maybe, not only yourself, a chance. The topic is actual for many people, especially young.
Me Personally to You Personally is a book worth keeping in your home library. It can be the key to understanding men’s way of thinking: Ivan Baidak has skilfully reflected the psychology and inner world of the character, the motivation and consequences of his actions.
Published in January, 2014.
Original language: Ukrainian.