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Liuba-Paraskeviia Strynadiuk

writer, translation of German fiction
Living (by) art
Living (by) art
Liuba-Paraskeviia Strynadiuk and her Zamagora

Lyuba-Paraska Strinadyuk. To live by the text, to live in the text

The man may write about Lyuba Paraska in short sentences. Smoothly and rhythmically. Her lyrics are similar to Hutsul music played by her father Mykola Strynadyuk and older brothers. Word for word, rhythm for rhythm. To understand at least a little of her sensual nature, you need to visit her at least once at home, in Zamagora. There it becomes almost transparent, unique with its creative landscape.

We met with Lyuba-Paraska in the morning in the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin in Kryvorivnia. Father Ivan, the local pastor, gave us Holy Communion, gave us a large wedding cake decorated with green leaves, and we went to Zamagora. We chose the byroad- through Yaseniv, Vyhoda, Krasnoillia, where more than a hundred years ago Hnat Khotkevych founded the Hutsul theater. From the center of Zamagora we went to Strynadyuk on foot – three kilometers up the weathered slopes overlooking the local sprawling and wide mountain Magura.

 From the first obstacles you understand that the Hutsul region is not a myth, but a complex, three-dimensional reality, often with heavy, dirty roads, plastic on wooden houses, cold winters and hard daily work. To associate Hutsuls only with romance and poetry is to commit violence. Lyuba-Paraska knows this very well, so her books offer a completely different dimension of perception and reading of the Hutsul region, with a subtle experience of the microcosm, its reality, with careful reproduction of the smallest details of mountain life, attention to the most important experiences, feelings and emotions. For Lyuba-Paraska`s Hutsul region is lived and alive, every emotion is here and now, so it goes beyond romanticized stamps and markers.

We arrived from Kryvorivnia to Zamagora starving. Luba-Paraska immediately offered us a quick treat. Instead, those small snacks grew into the large Hutsul acquisitions with guslenka, soft tortillas with sourdough, fragrant forest raspberry jam, Hutsul borscht made from pickled white beets cooked on smoked ribs; with buryshinyki and knyshi, brindza and Hutsul stuffed cabbage from sauerkraut and corn groats. Everything was prepared by Paraska’s prudent and wise mother Olena, who loved to write when she was young and read a lot. Browsing around the asparagus in the summer kitchen, she talks about her youth, life in the mountains. In the house near the sideboard there is a portrait of a beautiful young girl in a green sweater with a thick blond braid, in the eyes of which you can easily recognize the young Olena. Lyuba-Paraska is standing next to her, talking to her mother. She is speaking Hutsul. Although, she is immediately switching to literary Ukrainian in a conversation with us. This moment of transition seems very organic and harmonious, as well as the combination of Hutsul and Ukrainian in the works of Lyuba-Paraskevia.

In the mountains, and especially in Zamagora, the figure of Luba-Paraskevia is thin and translucent. It is difficult to see it against the background of the native mountains, because she herself becomes the space where she grew up. In speech, rhythms, intonations and even movements. Paraska loves the Hutsul region, she cannot live without it. However, this feeling is careful and thoughtful. Without excessive pathos. She appreciates when others can also be attentive to herself and her landscapes, and therefore finds it extremely difficult to experience any profanation and simplification of what has been sacred to her since childhood. As for the sounds of the trembita in inappropriate situations, which here, in her Zamagora, have long announced death and alarm: 

We were afraid to touch the trembita. Get closer to it. We looked at it from afar, fascinated and frightened. No one had trembitas at home, except the trembitars themselves, whom everyone knew and called when someone died.

The figure of Lyuba-Paraskeva combines deep-rooted locality, known as hutsulism. At the same time, she loves and appreciates the experience of living outside the Hutsul region, Ukraine. She has lived in Lviv for many years. She also frequently visits literary and translation residences in Western and Central Europe. This gives the author the necessary distance, the angle of view to the distant house near Krynta – under the meadow, which can be seen from the window of the Strynadyuk`s house . At home, in Zamagora, Luba-Paraska never writes. Here she absorbs words, feelings, impressions, which later become her writing.

When Luba-Paraska reads her lyrics, it seems as if the music is about to begin. Her prose rhythm is reminiscent of Hutsul music – the music of her father Mykola, a musician who plays many musical instruments. Paraska always has his music in her head. He always plays Hutsul melodies on a flute as someone is leaving.

According to the German philosopher Martin Heidegger, language is the home of existence. Lyuba-Paraska’s house is the text itself, being in the text and working on it. Even when reciting a well-memorized prayer, Paraska must have it in front of her eyes. When Paraska and I were roommates in one of Lviv’s apartments, she would sit on the edge of the bed every morning, taking a prayer book in her hands to read a prayer from it, to touch with her eyes  the text itself, its words and letters. The wooden table near Paraska’s bed was always filled with books – poetry by Gerasimyuk and Melnychuk, literature of Vincenzo and Pollack in order to always be able to return home – through the text…Through the word.

Lyuba-Paraska Strynadyuk is a Hutsul writer and translator of fiction from German into Ukrainian. Translation is her greatest love. The writing is Paraska herself. Lyuba-Paraskevia is the author of five prose books: “Here, at Hutsuls” (2014), “To the Dancing” (2015), “Vyvcheryky” (2016), “How can I live in the meadow” (2018) and “From the mountains. Diary of Love”(2019) and one just written:“Huzulen: A Story of One Generation. Notes for memory”. Luba-Paraskevia dedicated it to her friend and literary mentor – the famous Austrian writer Martin Pollak.
Author of the text Yuliia Kishchuk
Photo author Serhii Havryliuk

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