Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Marusya Bociurkiw. Comfort Food for Breakups: The Memoir of a Hungry Girl

Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Marusya Bociurkiw. Comfort Food for Breakups: The Memoir of a Hungry Girl

Article excerpt

Marusya Bociurkiw. Comfort Food for Breakups: The Memoir of a Hungry Girl. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp, 2007. 171 pp. $19.95 sc.

A little over fifty years ago, Ukrainian literary production in Canada experienced a radical shift in its development. Instead of Ukrainian, some writers began to use English as their preferred vehicle of expression. And, moreover, women came to dominate the field--Vera Lysenko, Maara Haas, Myrna Kostash, Helen Potrebenko, Janice Kulyk-Keefer, Lisa Grekul, and, now, Marusya Bociurkiw. Some of these gals, like Bociurkiw, are armed with doctoral degrees: they can't be treated lightly, and each occupies a special niche in the evolution of "U.C.L.E." (Ukrainian Canadian literature in English). With Marusya Bociurkiw, however, there are complications that fans of Taras Shevchenko and Co., may find disturbing and much too far "outside the box:"

As the title suggests, this book is a collection of personal recollections--episodes and escapades--rolled up, so to speak, into individual cabbage rolls and placed into a toaster pan. On a deeper level, however, Comfort Food for Breakups constitutes a striking foray into Bociurkiw's world of sexual orientation which she links to issues of Ukrainian identity. Her marvelous, seamless blend of sexuality and ethnicity is the true core of Bociurkiw's literary imagination: in Kyiv, for instance, she drinks coffee "with a flavour I never had: Ukrainian mixed with queer" (33), and in Vancouver her friend finds that varennyky are "sort, sensual, luxurious" (55). …

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