Liv(ing) Through This

I just want to read a book

When everything is dying — me included — the best I can do is to flip the last page of Rooney’s novel

Anton Kutselyk
Human Parts
Published in
4 min readAug 16, 2022

Last Sunday, I bought “Conversations with Friends” by Sally Rooney.

In Kyiv, it’s rare to stumble on a book in English without Stephen King’s name on it, but I found it. It was jammed between Rooney’s larger novel “Beautiful World, Where Are You” and another book the name of which I don’t remember. I spent most of that day reading the book — happy because I haven’t read a fiction book in a while with such enthusiasm. More precisely, I haven’t even had the right state of mind to read anything like that.

These days, having the mood to ‘just read a book’ has become infrequent— something that was so commonplace in my life before is a new form of privilege now. A book demands a certain peace of mind — a special type of focused thinking that isn’t easy to employ today when life is anything but peaceful.

Often, my mind is in a state of ‘barely functioning.’ I don’t cook. I don’t wash dishes. I rarely clean my flat. We have an open balcony, and it would’ve been covered in pigeon shit forever if it wasn’t for my boyfriend who cleaned it last weekend. The only thing I’m still able to do — work aside — is to make a pour-over coffee every morning for us. That’s the end of my functional.

Is this robot broken?

I still read the news. I’ve tried to do so less, or even stop, but then something significant happens and I get stuck in the circle of refreshing web tabs again, obsessively. Blasts in Crimea? Great. More money and arms from the US? Great. Martial law and mobilisation are set to be continued for three more months. Not so great, but expected anyway. Nothing about the end of the war, though, and it’s a shame.

As Anastacia put it once nicely: “I’m sick and tired of always being sick and tired.”

Life is strange sometimes. It knows little about what a ‘balance’ is: it just throws more bullshit at you even if you’re already drowning in shit. My residence permit has expired a couple of months ago. I wasn’t able to get a new one because my lawyer kept on saying “it can wait, it’s war.”…



Anton Kutselyk
Human Parts

Medium curator and writer living in Kyiv. I write about war, peace, books and coffee.