3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Red Plenty (Paperback)
Spufford summarizes his book as ' A Russian fairy tale, though it really happened'.
If you did not know that it was based on real people in real country, you might read like it '1984', or a Rushdie novel . Fairytale names, and an invented society.
In fact it's a good, entertaining, and very readable 'light history'. 'Light history' is not a criticism -it's where the non-specialist has to start.
If you know little of the Soviet Union during that period, then read it to get the authentic flavour, and overview of the systems, of the place then.
If you are interested to dig deeper, there are copious notes of the sources to refer to - and these notes are a good read in themselves.
I have no problem with the invented characters to bring out the stories. It livens up and simplifies complexity
I spent a lot of time in the Soviet Union in the 1970's, just after the period of the book, and the book's attention to detail of daily life is as I remember it.
Viewed as a novel, it will be quickly forgotten.