Magazine article New Internationalist

Second-Hand Time

Magazine article New Internationalist

Second-Hand Time

Article excerpt

Second-Hand Time by Svetlana Alexievich, translated from the Russian by Bela Shayevich (Fitzcarraldo Editions, ISBN 9781910695111)

Svetlana Alexievich was the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature and her latest work, Second-Hand Time is a towering achievement, amply confirming the judgement of those bestowing the accolade. Weighing in at 700 pages and subtitled 'The Last of the Soviets', this is a sweeping and monumental oral history of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The author has assembled dozens of eyewitness accounts, bringing together unapologetic Stalinists and rampant free-marketeers; those who mourn the passing of the USSR and those who celebrate it. She has recorded the testimony of veterans and victims, apparatchiks and dissidents, and has woven their stories into a poignant requiem for a destroyed dream and a ruined civilization. …

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