The author of the acclaimed Chernobyl Prayer turns her keen investigative eye on those who grew up in the wartime Soviet Union. Marshalling disparate, endlessly fascinating testimonies from a wide variety of the population, Alexievich paints an expansive picture of coming of age at a pivotal juncture of the twentieth century.
Extraordinary stories about what it was like to be a Soviet child during the upheaval and horror of the Second World War, from Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich
'In May of 41 my parents took me for the summer to the Pioneer camp. I came there, went for a swim once, and two days later the war began. German planes flew over, and we shouted "Hurray!" We didn't understand that they could be enemy planes. Until they began to bomb us... Then all colours disappeared. All shades.'
What did it mean to grow up in the Soviet Union during the Second World War? In the late 1970s, Svetlana Alexievich started interviewing people who had experienced war as children, the generation that survived and had to live with the trauma that would forever change the course of the Russian nation. With remarkable care and empathy, Alexievich gives voice to those whose stories are lost in the official narratives, uncovering a powerful, hidden history of one of the most important events of the twentieth century.
Published to great acclaim in the USSR in 1985 and now available in English for the first time, this masterpiece offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human consequences of the war - and an extraordinary chronicle of the Russian soul.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 318 g
Dimensions: 216 x 135 x 23 mm
'Svetlana Alexievich is quite simply the greatest practitioner of oral history ever known. She is unique.' - Antony Beevor
'An antidote to nostalgic World War II narratives. . . Breathtaking, occasionally unbearably sad. Svetlana Alexievich is in a class of her own.' - Paula Hawkins
'D.H. Lawrence wrote that Hamlet's soliloquies are as deep as the soul of man can go. The opposite of soliloquies, Svetlana Alexievich's books go as deep as the soul of woman can go. And now she investigates the soul in the agonized process of historical formation.' - Geoff Dyer
'Alexievich serves no ideology, only an ideal: to listen closely enough to the ordinary voices of her time to orchestrate them into extraordinary books.' - Philip Gourevitch, New Yorker
'A painful book but also a seductive one. These terrible stories demand to be read.' - The Times
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