i Are the Kanatan (2014/2016)

(2016)*

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PROPOSITION

This is the story of us, Slavs connected by a common Soviet Bloc history, warily living out our new lives in far-off, English-speaking places, carrying on resourcefully, but remaining culturally invisible or, worse, reduced to thick-accented villains or meat-and-dumpling socio-culinary media soundbites tucked deep in the hosts’ national subconscious.

It is there, at the fringe of these adopted cultures, that we find our old “Eastern” identities inconveniently frothing up into the new ones that we cannot quite PERFECTLY settle into.

And, so, we oscillate between a nostalgia for the culture of our old “East” (Europe) and an uneasy distrust of the now crumbling manufactured dreams of “the West” that we longed after for so long, and chased far to grasp.

i Are the Kanatan is a bittersweet anthem to our unspoken joys and our deep souls simmering beneath deceptively thin learned linguistic constructs.

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SYNOPSIS

The Son is an ordinary thirty-something far west Canadian hipster of “Eastern” European origin, directionless and still living with his parents, who would like nothing better than to “finally do something significant” with his life. One day, during a particularly strong bout of eastalgia (nostalgia for his childhood behind the Iron Curtain), he resolves to set things right, by putting on an old-fashioned revolution, and thus begins a tragicomic story of how he tries — quite unsuccessfully — to plot to turn the province he lives in into a retro socialist kitsch utopia.

This debut mashup novella — part one-time novel with a turbulent backstory (READ IT HERE), part upcycled feature film script — is a satirical exploration of immigrant nostalgia and hyperreality filtering into everyday life, with hearthy Slavic soul and comic Euroflavour subtexts to boot.

Read it now, laugh and cry, and embrace the “East” in you.

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BUY EBOOK:    KOBO  ($3.99)

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* Originally released online in a series of thirty-one instalments over the thirty-one days leading up to the 25th anniversary of the Fall of Communism in Czechoslovakia (i.e. October 17 to November 16, 2014).

Read more about this “#31daysofkanatan” release on The View East, Central and Eastern Europe, Past and Present blog by Dr Kelly Hignett, a Senior Lecturer in History at Leeds Beckett University, who kindly helped me publicize it.

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