ON OUR WAY HOME
FROM THE REVOLUTION
Mad Creek Books/The Ohio State University Press
21st Century Essays Series
Winner of the 2018 Gournay Prize
A "Most Anticipated Essay Collection" for Fall 2019 —Lit Hub
"[A] layered and lyrical debut... an emotionally urgent personal reckoning with suffering, corruption, and culpability." —Los Angeles Review of Books
"The essays build to a shocking discovery that provides a thud of misunderstanding about our collective pasts — our very ideas of ourselves — that is so profound I have a hard time imagining a reader who will not feel equally stunned and seen." —Chicago Review of Books
"On Our Way Home from the Revolution bids us to seek to understand the past, ultimately so that we forge a way out of the disorienting omni-present that defines our age. It bids us to have the courage to speak out against powerful interests that wish to keep us stuck in that deleterious loop... We should count ourselves lucky that Bilocerkowycz’s book is not considered samizdat, that we can use that sliver of intellectual freedom to kick the door in, to hope for a tomorrow that seems increasingly less guaranteed." —Punctuate. A Nonfiction Magazine
“A fierce, lyrical book that achieves a rare balance between the burden and beauty of heritage. A powerfully American book even as it travels to post–Cold War Ukraine. The best use of memoir is not a how-I-got-to-be-me story, but a book like this—a courageous effort to pierce the secrets of a vexed political and cultural history.” —Patricia Hampl, author of A Romantic Education
“On Our Way Home from the Revolution is a remarkable work of lyric inquiry and brutal empathy. A carefully crafted collection that paints a loving but honest portrait of family, country, and self through the eyes of a brilliant young writer unafraid to look directly into the blistering stare of a Chernobyl sunset or the red sunrise of a fire-fueled revolution.” —Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas, author of Don't Come Back
“Part mythology, part personal essay, and part historical fact-finding mission that circles her family’s patriotic devotion to Ukraine, Sonya Bilocerkowycz asks what it means to love a country that struggles to confront its complicated history and wonders what to make of the incomplete narrative she inherited as a child. Tender, probing, and deeply honest.” —Angela Pelster, author of Limber
In 2014 Sonya Bilocerkowycz is a tourist at a deadly revolution. At first she is enamored with the Ukrainians’ idealism, which reminds her of her own patriotic family. But when the romantic revolution melts into a war with Russia, she becomes disillusioned, prompting a return home to the US and the diaspora community that raised her. As the daughter of a man who studies Ukrainian dissidents for a living, the granddaughter of war refugees, and the great-granddaughter of a gulag victim, Bilocerkowycz has inherited a legacy of political oppression. But what does it mean when she discovers a missing page from her family’s survival story—one that raises questions about her own guilt?
In these linked essays, Bilocerkowycz invites readers to meet a swirling cast of post-Soviet characters, including a Russian intelligence officer who finds Osama bin Laden a few weeks after 9/11; a Ukrainian poet whose nose gets broken by Russian separatists; and a long-lost relative who drives a bus into the heart of Chernobyl. On Our Way Home from the Revolution muddles our easy distinctions between innocence and complicity, agency and fate.