“A Sound Without a Message”: Childhood, Embodied Memory, and the Representation of Famine in Oksana Zabushko’s The Museum of Abandoned Secrets

  • Anastasia Ulanowicz


This essay contends that the traumatic memory of hunger is articulated not only through survivors’ verbal and oral accounts, but also through their bodily habits and rituals. To this end, this essay analyzes how Oksana Zabushko’s novel, The Museum of Abandoned Secrets, demonstrates the persistence of embodied memories of the Soviet-Ukrainian famine of 1931–1933 (or the “Holodomor”) even during periods when its discussion or aesthetic representation was explicitly forbidden by the Soviet state. Specifically, it considers how an apparently innocent game played by Ukrainian girls covertly re-enacted the initial conditions of this famine, and thus sustained its memory throughout successive periods of Soviet repression.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anastasia Ulanowicz
    • 1
  1. 1.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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