Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Saturday 25 August 2012

The Lost Button - Irene Rozdobudko - Author Guest Post

I am delighted to introduce a wonderful guest post by Irene Rozdobudko, author of The Lost Button, writing about how the idea behind this book came into her mind.

Guest post by Irene Rozdobudko

How to find the lost button.

One day I found myself in an overcrowded subway and suddenly spotted a button, torn from someone’s clothes. Interesting, I thought, someone must have gone to work without a button today. How would they feel during the day? That must be very uncomfortable, I imagined, as at times one small detail or the lack thereof can not only spoil one’s mood, but spoil the entire day and reflect negatively on one’s image. Another identical button like that might never be found – it will be lost forever, gone, thrown away, crushed and will never return to its first owner. 

Anyhow, the button is irrelevant, as we’re actually talking about ourselves, about people we lose so easily and those who get lost without a chance to get back.

Thinking these thoughts, I picked the button out of the dust. The button seemed alive and very much like the passengers that traveled with me that morning in an overcrowded subway.

The button, a sort of a lucky charm, also brought with it a variety of questions.

For instance, can a young man’s love towards a more mature woman influence his entire life making him look for someone ‘just like her’? Will he find her? And, perhaps, this love will forever remain an eternal illusion of the young, sweet and self-deceptive, and… a fatal mistake that turned his life upside down.

Or another question – can betrayal become the source of grief so strong it would cause insanity and condemn a person to a voluntary exile and life at the bottom of society?

Or another one – can the past return when you’re found, washed, warmed up and given a brand new start in a new country, on a continent far away?

And so, I began a search for answers to all these questions.

This is how this novel about a lost button came about. The story is stretched in time and covers twenty years of a generation that Erich Maria Remarque named ‘lost’.

Many a time readers of this particular book approach me saying “You wrote about me!”.

Many of them and all so different – younger and older, men and women. And I, in all honesty, got somewhat scared when realizing that the world is filled with too many of these ‘lost buttons’.

I collect them now. Literally and figuratively, wherever I go, in a subway wagon and all over the world, I tell people not to lose each other. Because you will never have another such button. Treasure what you have…. 


The Lost Button, by Irene Rozdobudko 
Published by Glagoslav Publications
(translated by Michael M. Naydan and Olha Tytarenko)
Find out more here

My review of The Lost Button is coming soon.

About the book (from the publisher):

In early 80’s Ukraine is stricken by perestroika and struggles for “democracy”, Afghanistan is in flames of a war where hundreds of eighteen-year-old youths are killed every day. Their peer, Dan, a student of cinematography, hardly cares about social problems anywhere on the planet. But one fatal encounter with a mysterious young lady in a picturesque corner of the Carpathians changes his life forever. Unable to let go of his love after getting lost with her in the woods for one beautiful night, the young man’s fascination with the actress turns into an obsession. He deliberately goes through all the hell circles in Afghanistan, striving to burn out the traces of his unrequited love. Years later his native country just starts experiencing a real advertising boom amidst which he finds a new way to apply his creative talent and inner strengths. However, the past of his love rushes back into his life and now this obsession takes him from one continent to another.

The taut psychological thriller The Lost Button keeps the reader transfixed. The novel encompasses an entire era from the mid-70s of the previous century till the modern day with its geography stretching over the European region including Kiev, the Ukraine’s periphery, Russia and Montenegro, and at last the United States. It explores evergreen concepts of love, devotion, and betrayal and emphasizes the idea that whenever and wherever one lives, a tiny detail like a lost button has the power to set off a chain of events that would lead to either one’s greatest happiness or one’s greatest tragedy. It is about not looking back, but always valuing what you have – today and forever.

The Lost Button received first place in the “Coronation of the Word” competition in 2005 and subsequently was made into a feature film.

About the author (from the publisher):

Called “The Lady Detective of Ukrainian literature” by the media for her splendid earlier detective books, Irene Rozdobudko has recently burst into book market with a dozen award winning titles ranging from a light absurd comedy to a heavy psychological thriller and quickly claimed her rightful place among masters of modern literature in her native Ukraine.

A graduate of Kyiv National University in journalism, Irene started small, from a modest job of a waitress in a restaurant, later taking occasional jobs in a circus and a video store. Her talent for the written word eventually came into fruition when she landed a gig right down her professional alley in one of Kyiv’s major newspapers “Rodoslav” and journal “Suchasnast”. Her career took an interesting turn when she began working on national radio, became an observer for another major newspaper and later editor for woman’s magazine “Natalie”, editor-in-chief for the magazine “Storytelling Caravan - Ukraine” and a reporter for the journal “Academia”.

Irene Rozdobudko is one of the most popular writers in Ukraine today and has a lively, engaging writing style that makes her works accessible to a wide reading audience. Irene points very skilfully those aspects of human nature that drive decisions and give direction to a person’s life, as well as other people’s destiny. Her cinematographic vision of action and psychologically complicated, delicately worked out characters who have first-hand knowledge of life’s irony and wisdom make her novels perfect for the big screen adaptation as well as for the honourable place on a book shelf of a top quality modern literature devotee.  The author’s novel The Lost Button recently became a film. Irene’s artistic brilliance won the author a national price in literature “Coronation of the Word” three times.


  1. Lins, The Lost Button sounds AMAZING! On my wishlist :)

    1. Thanks very much for commenting Shaz. 'Treasure what you have' is such an important sentiment, I love how the author has expressed this.


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