The Language of War

Oleksandr Mykhed


We send all orders via Royal Mail: within the UK, choose from 1st Class, 2nd Class or Special Delivery; for the rest of the world, International Standard or International Tracked. Delivery and packaging charges are calculated automatically at the checkout.

To collect orders in person from the Bookshop, choose Click and Collect at the checkout.

Allen Lane
13 June 2024
ISBN: 9780241690840
304 pages

From the publisher

Translated by Maryna Gibson, Hanna Leliv and Abby Dewar

'This book has helped me and will help anyone who wishes to understand war' - Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny

When everyday life becomes a state of emergency, how can yesterday’s words suffice?

‘We were so happy and didn’t know it…’

A thirty-three-year-old writer lives in a quiet European suburb with his wife and his dog. His parents have bought an apartment nearby. On weekends they go out for brunch, cook and see friends. Life is good; it is normal. Then the invaders come.

The Language of War is about what happens when your world changes overnight. When you wake up to the sound of helicopters and the smell of gunpowder. When your home is hit by shells or broken into by gunmen, and you spend another night in a basement-turned-bomb shelter. When, even though you’ve never held a weapon before, you realise the only choice is to fight back. It is about things one can never forget, or forgive.

Bringing together Oleksandr Mykhed’s vivid day-by-day chronicles of the invasion of Ukraine with a chorus of other voices – his family, friends in exile, those who have fought and have witnessed unimaginable atrocities – this book is both a record, and a reckoning. Haunting and timeless, it asks how it is possible to find the words to describe a new reality; how you can still make sense of the world when the only language you can speak is the language of war.