About the “Moon Boy” story by Alexander Korotko

Dmitry Drozdovsky, critic, literary critic, translator, writer. October 2019, Kiev

The detective was born in the era of romanticism, examples of this genre are widely represented in both German and American versions of this literary direction. World duality inherent in romanticism made it possible to create a new genre pattern in which reality was perceived mysteriously and human life became a micromodel of such enigma. The “Moon Boy” story by Alexander Korotko is a work that contains both the duality and detective intrigue, the realization of which takes place not so much at the plot level, but on the plane of psychological experiences, in other words, it has internal nature. 

 

Detective story related to the stunning changes in the life of the heroine combined with her hallucinations and the feeling that reality is slipping from her hands, turning into something incomprehensible and inexplicable. The story is written in a modern way, it is dynamic and fresh, however, its dynamism is determined by particular worldviews and author’s style. On the one hand, we have a storyteller who knows everything (otherwise, how can one explain such an exact fit into the characterization of the characters from the point of their first meeting; the stranger resembles a former bandit and a pimp, what eventually is confirmed), but perception of the reality in the story is impressionistic, deeply psychological, impressionist- symbolic and utterly atypical. On the other 

hand, we see an example of work with the significant tradition of existentialism in writing in it, which is inherent to the French writers J.-P. Sartre or A. Camus. The motive of loneliness determines the core of the problem-motivational complex in the story. In addition, there is a personification of such phenomena as Night, and this trait is a characteristic of another literary direction - symbolism, that is genetically associated with romanticism. 

 

Alexander Korotko creates a story that can grab the attention of various readerships: office plankton, business people, but also those who seek philosophical explanations of how the world functions. “Moon Boy” is a new example of philosophical work, which shows the unexplored facets of the human soul, bizarre demonstrations of the subconscious, which is realized in the ability of characters to change reality: both their own and of others. The heroine’s life dramatically turns into madness, which manifests itself in the feeling of existential despair from the abyss that she faced. But the abyss is just a mind game, and that is where Kant and Fichte, Hoffmann and Nietzsche are mentioned again. Human is the only creature capable to redefine reality for itself. The work is atypical for Ukrainian literature and this causes even greater interest among readers. It has a love intrigue, “skeletons” from the past, business stories, conflicts at work, loneliness and almost madness - all that defines both the space of modern literature and the lives of its current readers. 

 

However, inherent in this work philosophy, contemplation, attention to internal movements of the heroine’s soul are realized in peculiar epigraphs for each section. We primarily see a psychological and philosophical work, that talks about the fragility of reality, state of uncertainty and the necessity to live with the inner sense of reality since analytical receptors can fail or be ineffective. This story is about an experiment on the person to whom life (space, egregor) gives a possibility through another character to rise above reality and change the optics of worldview. A yacht does something alike before being moored: it changes course by 180 degrees. The turn occurred in the heroine’s life and this new experience should help her to rise on a new stage in her life. Everything that happens nearby is only fraud and mystification, which mysteriously should contribute to spiritual growth. The dismissal story, the meeting with husband’s 

ex-wife, eventually, his death - all these are bizarre pieces of the puzzle called entry to the “new life”.

 

In the story, there is also Shakespeare's “Life is a theater” and Calderon's - “Life is a dream”. However, the new existentialist worldview claims that A. Korotko wrote a story that offers a different view on modern man and the world around him. Despite all the technological inventions, we can be defenseless in an unreliable world that can crumble someday. Virtual technology is a force that can realize a person’s eternal desire to change reality more powerfully, adapting it to the bizarre labyrinths of his own mind. And not a single literature can come up with something bigger than what life can toss. Alexandre Korotko managed to “grab” the model of new life, which, in fact, has baroque- romantic resemblance: the mind games can give birth to monsters in it, because a person, to paraphrase B. Spinoza, is a “stone slung from a sling” or, according to G. Grimmelshausen, is "an eternal traveler in a strange world." In such a “strange world”, created by bizarre imagination, the heroine ends up living. She is walking through labyrinths of the world and while having meetings with still unknown to her people, understands that reality and her perception remind herself hallucinations. And at this moment, the atomization of the modern person becomes even more expressive: everyone lives with their own fears, instincts (moreover, as the narrator notes, a person can have even stronger ones than animals, especially in terms of destruction). 

 

“Moon Boy” by Korotko is a story about a man with existentialist reflections and searches of the world foundation; the world someone can create instead of you. Character’s searches push readers to their own searches in dimensions not literary but of life labyrinths. Although in the modern world of digital virtuality everything is intertwined, it is important, if not mentally, then intuitively, to feel the transition into the looking glass of reality with the “mind of the heart”, so as not to multiply superfluous essences, but to follow the path of self-knowledge. 

 

Translated into English by Oksana Lipkovskaya

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