Best Selling Books by Svetlana Alexievich

Svetlana Alexievich is the author of Secondhand Time (2016), Voices from Chernobyl (2006), Last Witnesses (2020), Chernobyl Prayer (2016) and other 4 books.

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Secondhand Time

release date: May 24, 2016
Secondhand Time
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A symphonic oral history about the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a new Russia, from Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY • LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE WINNER NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Wall Street Journal • NPR • Financial Times • Kirkus Reviews When the Swedish Academy awarded Svetlana Alexievich the Nobel Prize, it cited her for inventing “a new kind of literary genre,” describing her work as “a history of emotions—a history of the soul.” Alexievich’s distinctive documentary style, combining extended individual monologues with a collage of voices, records the stories of ordinary women and men who are rarely given the opportunity to speak, whose experiences are often lost in the official histories of the nation. 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. A magnificent tapestry of the sorrows and triumphs of the human spirit woven by a master, Secondhand Time tells the stories that together make up the true history of a nation. “Through the voices of those who confided in her,” The Nation writes, “Alexievich tells us about human nature, about our dreams, our choices, about good and evil—in a word, about ourselves.” Praise for Svetlana Alexievich and Secondhand Time “The nonfiction volume that has done the most to deepen the emotional understanding of Russia during and after the collapse of the Soviet Union of late is Svetlana Alexievich’s oral history Secondhand Time.”—David Remnick, The New Yorker

Voices from Chernobyl

release date: Apr 18, 2006
Voices from Chernobyl
The people of Chernobyl talk about their lives before, during, and after the worst nuclear reactor accident in history, which occurred on April 26, 1986 in the Soviet Union in Chernobyl, a disaster that spread radioactive contamination across much of Europe. Reprint. 25,000 first printing.

Last Witnesses

release date: Jun 16, 2020
Last Witnesses
"A masterpiece" (The Guardian) from the Nobel Prize-winning writer, an oral history of children''s experiences in World War II across Russia NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST For more than three decades, Svetlana Alexievich has been the memory and conscience of the twentieth century. When the Swedish Academy awarded her the Nobel Prize, it cited her for inventing "a new kind of literary genre," describing her work as "a history of emotions . . . a history of the soul." Bringing together dozens of voices in her distinctive style, Last Witnesses is Alexievich''s collection of the memories of those who were children during World War II. They had sometimes been soldiers as well as witnesses, and their generation grew up with the trauma of the war deeply embedded--a trauma that would change the course of the Russian nation. Collectively, this symphony of children''s stories, filled with the everyday details of life in combat, reveals an altogether unprecedented view of the war. Alexievich gives voice to those whose memories have been lost in the official narratives, uncovering a powerful, hidden history from the personal and private experiences of individuals. Translated by the renowned Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, Last Witnesses is a powerful and poignant account of the central conflict of the twentieth century, a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human side of war. Praise for Last Witnesses "There is a special sort of clear-eyed humility to [Alexievich''s] reporting."--The Guardian "A bracing reminder of the enduring power of the written word to testify to pain like no other medium. . . . Children survive, they grow up, and they do not forget. They are the first and last witnesses."--The New Republic "A profound triumph."--The Big Issue "[Alexievich] excavates and briefly gives prominence to demolished lives and eradicated communities. . . . It is impossible not to turn the page, impossible not to wonder whom we next might meet, impossible not to think differently about children caught in conflict."--The Washington Post

Chernobyl Prayer

release date: Apr 21, 2016
Chernobyl Prayer
A startling history of the Chernobyl disaster by Svetlana Alexievich, the winner of the Nobel prize in literature 2015 On 26 April 1986, at 1.23am, a series of explosions shook the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. Flames lit up the sky and radiation escaped to contaminate the land and poison the people for years to come. While officials tried to hush up the accident, Svetlana Alexievich spent years collecting testimonies from survivors - clean-up workers, residents, firefighters, resettlers, widows, orphans - crafting their voices into a haunting oral history of fear, anger and uncertainty, but also dark humour and love. A chronicle of the past and a warning for our nuclear future, Chernobyl Prayer shows what it is like to bear witness, and remember in a world that wants you to forget.

Unwomanly Face of War

release date: Sep 01, 2018
Unwomanly Face of War
Why, having stood up for and held their own place in a once absolutely male world, have women not stood up for their history? A whole world is hidden from us. Their war remains unknown . . . I want to write the history of that war. A women''s history.'' In the late 1970s, Svetlana Alexievich set out to write her first book, The Unwomanly Face of War, when she realized that she grew up surrounded by women who had fought in the Second World War but whose stories were absent from official narratives. Travelling thousands of miles, she spent years interviewing hundreds of Soviet women - captains, tank drivers, snipers, pilots, nurses and doctors - who had experienced the war on the front lines, on the home front and in occupied territories. With the dawn of Perestroika, a heavily censored edition came out in 1985 and it became a huge bestseller in the Soviet Union - the first in five books that have established her as the conscience of the twentieth century.

In Search of the Free Individual

release date: Jan 15, 2018

Boys in Zinc

release date: Mar 02, 2017
Boys in Zinc
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. While the Soviet Union talked about a ''peace-keeping'' mission, the dead were shipped back in sealed zinc coffins. Boys in Zinc presents the honest testimonies of soldiers, doctors and nurses, mothers, wives and siblings who describe the lasting effects of war. Weaving together their stories, Svetlana Alexievich shows us the truth of the Soviet-Afghan conflict: the killing and the beauty of small everyday moments, the shame of returned veterans, the worries of all those left behind. When it was first published in the USSR in 1991, Boys in Zinc sparked huge controversy for its unflinching, harrowing insight into the realities of war.

Literature and Its Readership in the Changing World

release date: Jun 25, 2018
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