The Dreamtime by Mstyslav Chernov

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Alluding to the Indigenous Australian concept of dreamtime, the novel offers a unique point of view on the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014, through four intertwining narratives: a guilt-ridden doctor trying to exorcise his demons by exposing himself to war; a young woman tending to her ailing father as the bombs fall around them in Russian-occupied Slovyansk; a mysterious sociopath playing a cat-and-mouse game with an ex-lover; and a forensic expert solving a murder case while trying to save her marriage with a discharged soldier. As these threads unfurl, through harrowing scenes of personal and collective trauma, an enigmatic pattern emerges. The plots span in space from Ukraine's war-torn Donbas to southern Europe and southeast Asia, tied together by themes of existential conflict and the blurred line between reality and dreams. 

The novel was first published in Kyiv in 2020 as the focal point for a video-art exhibition on the media’s role in creating public collective experiences. It was well received by critics and audiences and praised for its realism in depicting war, for its creative literary depiction of how dreams reflect the psyche, and for its masterly prose.