The themes of alienation, abandonment, and fear of death that permeate The Future of Giraffes and The View of Delft, second and third books of The Placebo Effect Trilogy, are originally brought up in the first book, Like Blood in Water. A man accidentally wanders into a session similar to Primal Scream therapy and devotes his life to screaming from then on. A pianist stops playing because he feels his right hand isn't there. A father searches for a bible and eats toothpaste in anticipation of his daughter's drowning at a seaside resort called Penal Port. A Luciano Pavarotti look-alike agrees to be killed in a reenactment of the murder of Agamemnon. And a man dresses up in a mountain climber's outfit as he goes in for a surgery procedure he has been trying to avoid at all cost.
The five mininovels that make up Like Blood in Water, as with its two companions, all employ negative text-gaps of vital information which the reader is obliged to supply himself. By bringing personal experience into the story, the reader makes it more vivid and real, becoming in the process its co-author together with the author of the text.
About the Author
Yuriy Tarnawsky has authored some three dozen books of fiction, poetry, drama, essays, and translations in Ukrainian and English, including the novels Meningitis, and Three Blondes and Death, the collections of short fictions Short Tails and Crocodile Smiles, The Placebo Effect Trilogy collection of interrelated mininovels Like Blood in Water, The Future of Giraffes, and View of Delft, the novels Warm Arctic Nights and The Iguanas of Heat, the play Not Medea, a volume of Heuristic poetry Modus Tollens, and the book of essays Claim to Oblivion. He was born in Ukraine, but was raised and educated in the West. An engineer and linguist by training, he has worked as a computer scientist, specializing in Artificial Intelligence, at IBM Corporation and as a professor of Ukrainian literature and culture at Columbia University. For his contribution to Ukrainian literature, in 2008, he was awarded the Prince Yaroslav the Wise Order of Merit by Ukrainian government. He resides with his wife Karina in the New York City metropolitan area.