Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute's

Latest News
Keith Gessen Reviews Andrey Kurkov’s “Grey Bees” for The New Yorker
April 20, 2022

Keith Gessen (George T. Delacorte Assistant Professor of Magazine Journalism) reviews Kurkov’s timely novel about the grey zone of war in the Donbas. Translation by Boris Drayluk (Deep Vellum, 2022).

Andrey Kurkov’s novel Grey Bees (Deep Vellum) takes place in the area, known as the “gray zone,” between the two armed camps. Sergey Sergeyich is a retired mine-safety inspector turned beekeeper who is one of only two people left in the village of Little Starhorodivka. As Sergeyich recalls the beginning of the fighting, “Something broke in the country, in Kyiv, where nothing had ever been quite right. It broke so badly that painful cracks ran along the country, as if along a sheet of glass, and then blood began to seep through these cracks.”

Photo of Andrey Kurkov by Sergento, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.