- Paperback: 704 pages
- Publisher: Fitzcarraldo Editions (23 May 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1910695114
- ISBN-13: 978-1910695111
- Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 4.8 x 12.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Second-Hand Time Paperback – 23 May 2016
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'In this spellbinding book, Svetlana Alexievich orchestrates a rich symphony of Russian voices telling their stories of love and death, joy and sorrow, as they try to make sense of the twentieth century, so tragic for their country.' --J. M. Coetzee, winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature
From the Inside Flap
In this magnificent requiem to a civilization in ruins, the winne of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature reinvents a singular, polyphonic literary form, bringing together the voices of dozens of witnesses to the collapse of the USSR in a formidable attempt to chart the disappearance of a culture and to surmise what new kind of man may emerge from the rubble.Alexievich's method is simple: 'I don't ask people about socialism, I ask about love, jealousy, childhood, old age. Music,dances, hairstyles. The myriad sundry details of a vanished way of life. This is the only way to chase the catastrophe into theframework of the mundane and attempt to tell a story. Try to figure things out. It never ceases to amaze me how interestingordinary, everyday life is. There are an endless number of human truths...History's sole concern is the facts; emotions areout of its realm of interest. It's considered improper to admit feelings into history. I look at the world as a writer, not strictlyan historian. I am fascinated by people...'From this fascination emerges a brilliant, poignant and unique portrait of post-Soviet society, built on the traumatismsof its predecessors' collapse.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
In a particularly telling passage, one correspondent, an architect Anna, states that these horrors are visited on Russians by none other than their own Russian compatriots. ‘It wasn’t just anyone doing time, it was the people. And the ones sentencing them and guarding them were the people too – not foreign workers, not people brought in from outside – they were the very same people. Our own men. Kin…Millions of inmates had to be arrested, interrogated, transported, and shot for minor transgressions. Someone had to do all this....and they found millions of people who were willing to’ (p 396).
And as another correspondent says of modern Russia, ‘So what if Putin leaves. Some new autocrat will come take the throne in his place. People will go on stealing, same as before. We’ll still have the filthy entranceways, the abandoned elderly, the cynical bureaucrats, and the brazen traffic cops.Read more ›
People with an interest in modern Russia and the ongoing political situation there will likely be familiar with most of the main politicians, oligarchs and media people, who have been written about many times before. One of the great things about Alexievich’s approach is that she really tries to get underneath the surface, capturing the voice and opinions of the people who these changes affected, ie everyone. We hear from the idealists, the kitchen philosophers, average people who are just trying to get by and make their way in the world. All of these seemingly banal stories and memories are actually incredibly powerful and moving, so many prove utterly fascinating accounts all about their hopes, fears and dreams for their lives in the new Russia.
It’s not just the gullible or impressionable, we hear from plenty of seemingly highly intelligent and well educated people too, which just goes to prove the power of propaganda.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a masterpiece, beautifully written as befits a work from a Nobel Prize winner, and yet as befits a the journalist she is also, composed of the personal testimonies of a... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Elizabeth Webster
an extraordinary synthesis of the lives of ordinary russians since the Gorbachov eraPublished 6 months ago by Carol F. C. Rose
After reading this book I feel I have a better understanding of the Russian mentality and their behavior. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Nina
If there is one book you read in your life - fiction or non-fiction, this is the one. Alexievich layers story after story told by the people of the Soviet Union before and after... Read morePublished 8 months ago by O. M. R. Pemberton
This is one of the most depressing books I've ever read. It paints a picture of a society consumed by sentimentality, viciousness, paranoia and hypocrisy. Read morePublished 8 months ago by B. Hudson
Have not finishen reading yet but it is very facinating, one og the best book I have read in many years, and I do read a lot.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer