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Books

The hopeless wasteland of modern Russia

In Second-hand Time, Svetlana Alexievich traces the experiences of ten families since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, revealing how quickly euphoria gave way to despair

4 June 2016

9:00 AM

4 June 2016

9:00 AM

Second-hand Time Svetlana Alexievich, translated by Bela Shayevich

Fitzcarraldo Editions, pp.694, £14.99, ISBN: 9781910695111

‘Gilded doorknobs,’ spits a Party diehard as she contemplates the blessings of the Soviet Union’s collapse. ‘Is this freedom?’ Dozens of witnesses from the ‘lost generation’ in Russia who had ‘a communist upbringing and a capitalist life’ share Elena S’s disgust and bewilderment as they contribute to this epic fresco of an empire’s bitter aftermath.

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