Y.T. by Alexei Nikitin reviewed by Justin Goodman • Cleaver Magazine
In one devastating visual from the 2011 British television miniseries The Promise, a veteran of the Israeli armed forces shows the unaware protagonist the tragedy of the border between Israel and Palestine. As the series progresses—switching between the present time and that time which the protagonist’s grandfather spent in Post-WWII Israel as a British peacekeeper—the pathos of this divide becomes mired in historical and social realities beyond obvious resolution. This quagmire of a divided land is a familiar theme for our time. Ukrainian physicist-cum-entrepreneur-cum-author Alexei Nikitin’s novel YT specifically reminds us of the case of his country, whose Maidan revolution in 2014 tried to answer encroaching Russian imperialism. Nikitin’s novel is set both in 1984’s Soviet-dominated Kiev and the democratic Kiev of 2004, its miasma of paranoia accompanying everything Soviet and everything political markedly similar to the Israel-Palestine of The Promise. In everything, a line.