Oekraïense recensie van 'Randland'

Hello. I have an idea how Dutch and Flemish people can better understand Ukrainians — see Ukraine through the eyes of a Dutch traveller! Recently, I got to the presentation of "Randland" by Paul Braamberg. The book tells about four friends visiting Ukraine before the full-scale war, in 2019. For me, the book became an unexpected mirror: to be honest, I would never have written about ourselves something like that.
The characters start their journey in Kyiv and go west. They travel in space and time, and not always along the popular routes. Each of the chapters (the author calls them 'promenades') describes a certain place or event: the Chornobyl zone, Kyiv metro, the Holodomor museum, sights of the Habsburg Empire, ancient cemeteries, the climate march, the Soviet station for silencing Western voices, Airbnb apartments, roads and the manner of driving, Carpathian forests, Lviv courtyards, beer, Puzata Khata restaurants... and amazing coffee culture — even in the smallest hamlet in the deepest countryside a top-level espresso and americano is served. You will like the conclusion the author comes to: the friends go to see the outskirts of Europe and find themselves in its heart — geographical, historical, and cultural.
A few more arguments for Randland: unexpected historical parallels, subtle irony, bold neologisms, consistent and reasoned use of Ukrainian transliteration Kyiv not Kijev; and the finale, which turns everything upside down. The book has lots of photos, maps and soulful illustrations; it was designed in Kyiv, between the air-raids, by the talented designer Halya Verheles.
Since the beginning of the full-scale war, Paul and his family have been helping Ukraine a lot. The money from the book sales is directed to equipping ambulances and providing first aid training for military and civilians.
Anna Pochtarenko

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