journalism

secondhandtop

Unlimited Stars for Alexievich: THE Oral History of Eastern-Block Communism & the Transition to Capitalism

secondhandSecondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich
First English Translation
by Bela Shayevich on May 24, 2016
Random House
Source: ARC from Random House via Netgalley
goodreads_logo

The magnum opus and latest work from Svetlana Alexievich, the 2015 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature—a symphonic oral history about the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a new Russia. In Secondhand Time, Alexievich chronicles the demise of communism. Everyday Russian citizens recount the past thirty years, showing us what life was like during the fall of the Soviet Union and what it’s like to live in the new Russia left in its wake. Through interviews spanning 1991 to 2012, Alexievich takes us behind the propaganda and contrived media accounts, giving us a panoramic portrait of contemporary Russia and Russians who still carry memories of oppression, terror, famine, massacres—but also of pride in their country, hope for the future, and a belief that everyone was working and fighting together to bring about a utopia. Here is an account of life in the aftermath of an idea so powerful it once dominated a third of the world.” Source: Penguin Random House.

5heartrating5heartrating

Review

“We sit atop the ruins of socialism like it’s the aftermath of war.”

UNLIMITED STARS.

One of the best books I’ve ever read. THE most personally touching and relevant book I’ve EVER read. A book that penetrates the soul of my being and explains me to myself.
(more…)

cambodiatop

Seeley Probes the Depths of Human Denial, Repression, and Addiction in Cambodia Noir, an Electric Debut

cambodianoir

Cambodia Noir by Nick Seeley
Published on March 15, 2016
Scribner
Source: I bought it
goodreads_logo

“A high-octane thriller with a heart-stopping conclusion about a mysterious American woman who disappears into the Cambodian underworld, and the photojournalist who tracks her through the clues left in her diary.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia: The end of the line. Lawless, drug-soaked, forgotten—it’s where bad journalists go to die.  Propulsive, electric, and filled with unforgettable characters, Cambodia Noir marks the arrival of a fresh new talent. Nick Seeley is an ambitious, wildly imaginative author and his enthralling debut explores what happens when we venture into dark places…when we get in over our heads…and when we get lost.” Source: Simon & Schuster.

4starrating

Review

“She didn’t care about the money… She didn’t care about the story. Or me, or Sam, or even drugs. She didn’t have reasons. She just wanted to see what was in the dark…”

Cambodia Noir reads like a drug-induced frenzy, like falling into an abyss of human depravity, senselessness, unmoored emptiness and despair. Steely’s voice as our protagonist, washed-out journalist Will, is mesmerizing, and offers – for the reader at least – a sobering portrait of how far any of us may fall through a combination of denial, repression, and addiction. Addiction not only to drugs, but to the next blood-curling experience, the next big score (in this case, the Pulitzer-worthy story). (more…)