Author’s image and polyphony in the documentary novel “Babi Yar” by Anatoly Kuznetsov


Babi Yar” presents a synthesis of various forms of narration and discourse practices. First-person speech dominates in the novel but the subjective account of the terrible experience suffered by a youth, growing under the Nazi occupation of Kiev in 1941-1943, includes many official documents plus voices and speeches of a great number of other men and women: the author’s relatives and friends, some witnesses and survivors of the hell of mass destruction in Babi Yar. The combination of personal narration and polyphony, and the dramatic presentation of multitude utterances and opinions is the base of objective and versatile vision of human evil and a path laid to the cruel truth. “Babi Yar” begins with the statement: “I’m telling a true story. My book is a document” and concludes with the following affirmation: “…it’s a cry of thousands perishing people. And we dare not forget this cry”. The voice of a single ordinary person merges with the voices of the suffering nation and humankind, the destiny of a man is closely connected with the destiny of the people. It is the main constructive principle of the book by Kuznetsov.

Key words: 

Anatoly Kuznetsov, Babi Yar, documentary novel, author’s image, first-person narration, polyphony.

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