Reading, Watching 4.19
Books, Articles, Movies
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Second-Hand Time is Svetlana Alexievich’s massive oral history of the post-Soviet world. Alexievich is the rare journalist who wins a Nobel Prize in Literature and reading this it’s not hard to see why she did. With utter directness and simplicity, she captures the experience of ordinary people trying to comprehend what has happened to their lives. The Russian literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin once wrote of Dostoevsky’s novels that they included “a plurality of independent and unmerged voices and consciousnesses, a genuine polyphony of fully valid voices;” that’s definitely the case in Second-Hand Time, where Alexievich interviews people of all backgrounds: former party members, former dissidents, cynics, dreamers, intellectuals, worker, people who still believe in communism, and those who are just trying to make a buck. I will just share a passage: