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Second-Hand Time: The Last of the Soviets
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.
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