In Serhiy Zhadan's recent novel Internat (2017), the protagonist epitomizes the quintessential east Ukrainian under scrutiny today, while his journey depicts working through trauma. His transformation portrays the ultimate shedding of melancholy when, in response to violence, the past is replaced by the present. I elicit some of the key symbols and features of this process, which I call triggered mourning, and attend to the role of real-time menace in initiating it. This article draws connections not only between the story's plot arc and the ongoing war, but also between Ukraine's past and present from the perspective of trauma theory. The four sections of the article (on the transformation, the void, the defect, and the antidote) propose and expand upon the notion that Internat is a synchronous war novel—a narrative that emerges parallel to, and closely entwined with, unfolding warfare—and examine its significance for scholarship on Ukraine, for Slavic studies, and beyond. Trauma studies in the context of literature are central to this analysis, with postcolonial studies providing some helpful illustrative parallels.