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Boys in Zinc: Svetlana Alexievich (Penguin Modern Classics)

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Perhaps the most balanced comment here was left by the former 'Afghani' (a veteran of the conflict), Pavel Shetko, although concluding comments by the author offered in her defence are worthy of note. When it was first published in the USSR in 1991, Boys in Zinc sparked huge controversy because of its unflinching, harrowing insight into the realities of war. There were older men too, but a large proportion were 18 and 19, and in the end their story reverberated with extraordinary power. On 26 August, Alexievich was questioned by Belarusian authorities about her involvement in the council.

Her brutal books deal with the recent past, so we’re denied the comfort of believing such matters are safely sealed in history. Likewise with Russia which opened itself up through Glasnost, overthrew communism, but now lapses into authoritarianism.

Svetlana Alexievich wins Nobel Literature prize Archived 2018-06-21 at the Wayback Machine, BBC News (8 October 2015).

In 1993, she published Enchanted by Death, a book about attempted and completed suicides due to the downfall of the Soviet Union.

For the combatants on both sides it was a disastrous conflict with little quarter given or received, even for those who escaped unharmed the pain of the experiences live on, as they do for many American veterans of Vietnam. The title refers to the coffins used to ship dead soldiers back to Russia from Afghanistan, and the whole thing is about waste and loss. I knew immediately that he had been wounded, and now if even a day went by without a letter from him my legs would give way under me. This is how I hear and see the world – as a chorus of individual voices and a collage of everyday details. The second part of records the legal challenge and the decision eventually reached by the Belarusian court.It was messy, it was Russia’s (or the USSR’s) Vietnam war: pointless, impossible, a loss of life on both sides and a serious financial burden. Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, she commented that "providing a territory for an aggressor country is nothing but complicity in a crime" in relation to Belarusian involvement in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. For those already familiar with the testament of US veterans of Vietnam, you will find much that resonates, all soldiers and parents share a common bond no matter what the underlying cause and driving ideology. I’d never so much as seen a real knife fight, and here I was, driving along on the back of an armoured personnel carrier. He was wearing a soldier’s uniform, but when I came towards him he began to go away until he disappeared completely.

The haunting history of the Soviet-Afghan War from the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2015- A new translation based on the updated text - From 1979 to 1989 Soviet troops engaged in a devastating war in Afghanistan that claimed thousands of casualties on both sides. At night I dream of the dead, they all have looks of surprise on their faces: what, you mean I was killed? Post moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Over ten years untold damage was done to the Afghan nation and eventually to the Soviet Union itself.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.

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