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Second-Hand Time


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Second Hand Time

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Second-Hand Time: The Last of the Soviets


Svetlana Alexievich


ISBN 9781868427345


In Second-Hand Time, Alexievich chronicles the demise of communism. Everyday Russian citizens recount the past thirty years, showing us what life was like during the fall of the Soviet Union and what it’s like to live in the new Russia left in its wake.

Through interviews spanning 1991 to 2012, Alexievich takes us behind the propaganda and contrived media accounts, giving us a panoramic portrait of contemporary Russia and Russians who still carry memories of oppression, terror, famine, massacres-but also of pride in their country, hope for the future, and a belief that everyone was working and fighting together to bring about a utopia.

Here is an account of life in the aftermath of an idea so powerful it once dominated a third of the world.

Alexievich’s distinctive documentary style, combining extended individual monologues with a collage of voices, records the stories of ordinary women and men who are rarely given the opportunity to speak, whose experiences are often lost in the official histories of the nation.

The Author

Svetlana Alexievich was born in Ukraine in 1948 and grew up in Belarus. She spent her early career as a newspaper journalist in Minsk, compiling first-hand accounts of World War II, the Soviet-Afghan War, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Chernobyl meltdown. Her unflinching work - ‘the whole of our history...is a huge common grave and a bloodbath’- earned her persecution from the Lukashenko regime (in power in Belarus since 1994) and she was forced to emigrate.

She lived in Paris, Gothenburg and Berlin before returning to Minsk in 2011. She has won a number of prizes, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Prix Médicis, and the Oxfam Novib/PEN Award. In 2015, she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Extras

Reviews, News & Interviews:

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