Serhyi Zhadan - Totalnyi Futbol
#language & literature
no-image, Serhyi Zhadan - Totalnyi Futbol
A book about football as a part of life, a book that attempts to answer the question whether the Euro 2012 ushers Poland and Ukraine into a new era. Not a guide but a presentation of stories, the characters and prospects of eight cities in Poland and Ukraine by eight acclaimed Polish and Ukrainian artists
Eight cities in Poland and Ukraine hosting the Euro 2012 and eight authors sharing stories about football, its place in society, thoughts on newly built stadiums, accompanied by dozens of black and white pictures showing how the sport is intricately linked to society. Totalnyi Futbol is not a guide but a presentation of stories, the characters and prospects of the eight cities – a book about football as a part of life that attempts to answer the question whether the Euro 2012 ushers Poland and Ukraine into a new era
Ukrainian poet and novelist Serhiy Zhadan’s Totalnyi Futbol is a collection of eight chapters by authors from two countries presenting their personal perspectives, thoughts and stories on eight cities in Poland and Ukraine. The introduction, written by Serhiy Zhadan promotes football in the Ukraine to the status of a model of society– one that unites, inspires, gives self confidence and independence. "With only the stadiums bringing the Ukrainians together […] in the stadiums people don’t care about languages and regional interests […] I only exaggerate slightly when I say that the country lives from football".
Writer and columnist Paweł Huelle puts the Euro 2012 in the context of past doubts as to the country’s capabilities of organising the event. His story about Mr Janek, a football enthousiast from before the war who claims that "football is no longer what is once was!" adds historical importance to the sport by reminding of past events: a 1934 Polish-Jewish match in Gdańsk that was almost entirely controlled by the Nazis.
In the chapter about Warsaw novelist and essayist Marek Bieńczyk compares and contrasts the newly built Warsaw stadium to the destroyed XX Anniversary Stadium built in the mid-1950s through the prism of history, its significance and personal views. "Sport in the ruins had a special meaning, it expressed the need for regeneration, the longing for a new life after the nightmare of the war", he writes.
Short-story writer and poet Natasza Goerke relates stories of theanthropomorphised football club Lech which is “sensitive and fragile” because its astrological sign is fish and dog in the Chinese calendar while writer and translator Piotr Siemion’s portrays Wrocław’s new stadium as a UFO in a city that has changed its name, its language several times over the past 1000 years.
The pictures featured in the book add a special dimension to the essays. They were taken by Kirill Golovchenko who travelled around Poland and the Ukraine in search of what football meant - what information it gives about the political and social state of affairs of a society, whether the conditions of a pitch give an indications as to the conditions in the country. They aslo provide an expression of the photographer's observation of the difference of approach to the Euro between Poles and Ukrainians.
Suhrkamp, Berlin 2012
Available only in German
Thumbnail: "The UFO also landed at our place", photo of the PGE Arena in Gdańska © Kirill Golovchenko, courtesy of the artist
Author: Marta Jazowska
"Football Monumet", football shoe Kraków 2012 taken at the KS Kraków Wawel stadium © Kirill Golovchenko, courtesy of the artist