Svetlana Alexievich

Second-Hand Time

Label Fitzcarraldo Editions Genre Lyrics Cat no. 9781910695111

£14.99

In this magnificent requiem to a civilization in ruins, the winne of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature reinvents a singular, polyphonic literary form, bringing together the voices of dozens of witnesses to the collapse of the USSR in a formidable attempt to chart the disappearance of a culture and to surmise what new kind of man may emerge from the rubble.

Alexievich's method is simple: 'I don't ask people about socialism, I ask about love, jealousy, childhood, old age. Music,dances, hairstyles. The myriad sundry details of a vanished way of life. This is the only way to chase the catastrophe into the framework of the mundane and attempt to tell a story. Try to figure things out. It never ceases to amaze me how interesting ordinary, everyday life is. There are an endless number of human truths...History's sole concern is the facts; emotions areout of its realm of interest. It's considered improper to admit feelings into history. I look at the world as a writer, not strictly an historian. I am fascinated by people...'From this fascination emerges a brilliant, poignant and unique portrait of post-Soviet society, built on the traumatisms of its predecessors' collapse.