Kateryna Shmega


Empathy – the only thing that will save us : anthropology of Homo Compatiens in the novel of Victoria Amelina

After the huge number of projects and books that have been published during the Revolution of Dignity and still breaking now, the book of Victoria Amelina “November Syndrome or Homo Compatiens” is the least connected with the events in winter 2013-2014. Maidan arises before us only at the end as culmination of the book.

The book filled with symbolism, myths and biblical allusions. It has polyphonic structure, speaks to us millions of voices, in different languages, cultures and eras. The sme applies to the storyline. This is not a story with a linear type of presentation where the event takes place slowly in space and time. The main line branches off all the time, supplemented by stories of different characters, countries, which combines the figure of the main character – Kostya Nechay.

In the “November Syndrome” combines seemingly irreconcilable: ˗ religion, Christianity, Islam, paganism; myths and rituals – ancient and modern; ˗ revolutions in Ukraine, Tunisia, Egypt; Women from Armenia and walks in Venice. And all this weaving for one – to show that people in all parts around the world are the same.

Victoria Amelina tried to show us the power of the human spirit and feelings. That, what makes us Human. Her book makes the world looks wider to realize that there are not only our local problems, deaths of our people. It opens our eyes to the fact that in Tunisia are violating human rights, bringing to self-immolation. That in Egypt the innocent guy, Khaled Said can be beaten to death by police . This book is about unity – the man and the world. Therefore, “We are all Khaled Said”.