Everything eventually reaches its appointed place in time and space. Maria Matios’s dramatic family saga, Hardly Ever Otherwise, narrates the story of several western Ukrainian families during the last decades of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and expands upon the idea that “it isn’t time that is important, but the human condition in time.”
From the first page, Matios engages her reader with an impeccable style, which she employs to create a rich tapestry of cause and effect, at times depicting a logic that is both bitter and enigmatic. But nothing is ever fully revealed—it is only in the final pages of the novel that the events in the beginning are understood as a necessary part of a larger whole, and the section entitled Seasicknesspresents a compelling argument for why events almost always have to follow a particular course.
In Matios’s multi-tiered plot, the grand passions of ordinary people are illuminated under the caliginous light of an ethereal mysticism, and digressions on love, envy, transgression, and atonement are woven into the story. The reader is submerged into a rich world populated by a grand cast of characters and ideas, which Matios animates with her prolific imagination and subtle wisdom.
Each character in this outstanding drama has an irrefutable alibi, a unique truth, and a private conflict with honor and duty. Her characters do not always act in accordance with logic and written-law, as the laws of honor clash with the laws of the heart. And this is why it is hardly ever otherwise.
For more information about this publication please consult the following website dedicated exclusively to Hardly Ever Otherwise.
Translated by Yury Tkacz
Maria Matios was born in 1959, in the Ukraine. In 1982 she graduated with a degree in Ukrainian literature from Chernivtsi State University. She has worked as chief-secretary for the Bukovina Literary Journal, the Chernivtsi Writer's Union, and the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. From 2005 to 2010 she served as deputy-chairman for the Shevchenko National Prize.
Her first poems were published when she was fifteen years old. In 1992 she published her first prose in Kiev Magazine. She has gone on to write seven books of poetry and five books of prose. This has earned her the unofficial title of being Ukraine's most prolific female author, and the official titles of Chevalier of the Ukrainian Order of Merit and Honorary Citizen of Chernivtsi.
In 2007, the novel Hardly Ever Otherwise earned Matios the Grand Prix at the Coronation of Words Competition. The title was also named book of the year. Her highly influential novel, Sweet Darusia, was named the best Ukrainian novel written in the fifteen year span after Ukrainian Independence in 1991, and earned Matios the Shevchenko National Prize in 2005.
Her works have been translated into many languages including Serbian, Romanian, Russian, Polish, Croatian, Belorussian, Azerbaijani, Japanese, and Chinese.
Awards and Prizes:
- 2008, Book of the Year − Moskalitsya: Mother of Maritsa, Wife of Christopher Columbus
- 2007, Book of the Year − Hardly Ever Otherwise
- 2007, Grand Prix at Coronation of Words−Hardly Ever Otherwise
- 2005, Book of the Year − Sweet Darusia
Besides the Shevchenko National Prize she is the recipient of the Blagovist Prize, the Vladimir Bablyak Publishing Prize, and the K. Galkin Prize.
To book Maria Matios for speaking engagements, please visit Glagoslav Speakers.