The unforgettable oral history of Soviet women's experiences in the Second World War from the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Svetlana Alexievich was born in Ivano-Frankivsk in 1948 and has spent most of her life in the Soviet Union and present-day Belarus, with prolonged periods of exile in Western Europe. Starting out as a journalist, she developed her own, distinctive non-fiction genre which brings together a chorus of voices to describe a specific historical moment. Her works include The Unwomanly Face of War (1985), Last Witnesses (1985), Boys in Zinc (1991), Chernobyl Prayer (1997) and Second-Hand Time (2013). She has won many international awards, including the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature for 'her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time'.
Extraordinary. . . it would be hard to find a book that feels more
important or original. . . Alexievich's strength - and a mark of
her own courage - is that she is forever on the lookout for the
seemingly inconsequential, almost trivial human moments. . . Her
achievement is as breathtaking as the experiences of these women
are awe-inspiring -- Viv Groskop * Observer *
An astonishing book, harrowing and life-affirming. It deserves the widest possible readership -- Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train
Magnificent. . . Alexievich doesn't just hear what these women say; she cares about how they speak. . . It's a mark of her exceptional mind that she tries to retain the incomprehensible in any human story -- Gaby Wood * Daily Telegraph Books of the Year *
A must read -- Margaret Atwood
Brilliant -- Kamila Shamsie * Guardian Books of the Year *
A revelation. . . Alexievich's text gives us precious details of the kind that breathe life into history . . . This is a book about emotions as much as it is about facts. It is not a historical document in the accepted sense. . . and yet ultimately, which historical documents are more important than this? -- Lyuba Vinogradova * Financial Times *
Astonishing. . . Her years of meticulous listening, her unobtrusiveness and her ear for the telling detail and the memorable story have made her an exceptional witness to modern times. . . This is oral history at its finest and it is also an essay on the power of memory, on what is remembered and what is forgotten -- Caroline Moorehead * Guardian *
These stories about the women warriors of Mother Russia are a symphony of feminine suffering and strength. . . Read this book. And then read it again -- Gerard DeGroot * The Times *