Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What is Marci Shore reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Marci Shore, author of The Taste of Ashes: The Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe.

Her entry begins:
Alina Bronsky, The Hottest Dishes of the Tatar Cuisine. Bronsky’s writing is fresh. Rosa, the vibrant and unreliable narrator, embodies both an acceptance of fate that is deeply Russian and a joie de vivre that embraces both the tragic and the ironic. Rosa is not only an alternatively darkly and lightly comical (anti-)heroine, but also a prism through which the reader observes the fine line between delusion and stamina, between narcissistic self-indulgence and an...[read on]
About The Taste of Ashes, from the publisher:
An inventive, wholly original look at the complex psyche of Eastern Europe in the wake of the revolutions of 1989 and the opening of the communist archives.

In the tradition of Timothy Garton Ash’s The File, Yale historian and prize-winning author Marci Shore draws upon intimate understanding to illuminate the afterlife of totalitarianism. The Taste of Ashes spans from Berlin to Moscow, moving from Vienna in Europe’s west through Prague, Bratislava, Warsaw and Bucharest to Vilnius and Kiev in the post-communist east. The result is a shimmering literary examination of the ghost of communism – no longer Marx’s “specter to come” but a haunting presence of the past.

Marci Shore builds her history around people she came to know over the course of the two decades since communism came to an end in Eastern Europe: her colleagues and friends, once-communists and once-dissidents, the accusers and the accused, the interrogators and the interrogated, Zionists, Bundists, Stalinists and their children and grandchildren. For them, the post-communist moment has not closed but rather has summoned up the past: revolution in 1968, Stalinism, the Second World War, the Holocaust. The end of communism had a dark side. As Shore pulls the reader into her journey of discovery, reading the archival records of people who are themselves confronting the traumas of former lives, she reveals the intertwining of the personal and the political, of love and cruelty, of intimacy and betrayal. The result is a lyrical, touching, and sometimes heartbreaking, portrayal of how history moves and what history means.
Visit Marci Shore's faculty webpage and read more about The Taste of Ashes.

Writers Read: Marci Shore (February 2009).

Writers Read: Marci Shore.

--Marshal Zeringue