Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Eight books about life after the collapse of the Soviet Union

Irina Zhorov was born in Uzbekistan, in the Soviet Union, and moved to Philadelphia on the eve of its dissolution. After failing to make use of a geology degree she received an MFA from the University of Wyoming. She’s worked as a journalist for more than a decade, reporting primarily on environmental issues.

Her new novel is Lost Believers.

At Electric Lit Zhorov tagged eight books that reckon with the complicated legacy of the USSR, including:
Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich, translated by Bela Shayevich

If ‘post-Soviet stuff’ is a genre you’re interested in exploring, I suggest starting with this nonfiction book. It’s a compilation of interviews that Belarusian author Svetlana Alexievich weaves into a narrative about the dissolution of the USSR and what those who lived through it make of the rubble. Each voice—from doctors, soldiers, writers and everyone in between—tells a personal story but as a chorus they intone a hopelessness, some nostalgia and the singular ordeal of having lived under the Soviet flag.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue