Category: Eastern Europe

Dec 11 2018

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #2) by Theodora Goss

At 702 pages — nearly twice the length of its predecessor in the series — European Travel For The Monstrous Gentlewoman is an unfortunately ungainly novel. Whereas The Strange Case Of The Alchemist’s Daughter was a sprightly reimagining of classic monstrous tales especially as they pertained to the much abused daughters of horrible men, ETftMG …

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Oct 21 2018

Soviet Mass Festivals, 1917-1991 by Malte Rolf

Every now and then, I like to read a book that is of interest mainly to specialists. Malte Rolf’s work uses the parades and other mass events in the Soviet Union as a lens for examining how that society developed over the course of its existence. Celebrations reveal a great deal about a society — what …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/10/21/soviet-mass-festivals-1917-1991-by-malte-rolf/

Oct 15 2018

The City & The City by China Miéville

Don’t read the second sentence of this post. Don’t read the sentence that comes before this one. In this world, we do not acknowledge italics. Italics are the only text there is. If you see something written in another way, avert your eyes, unsee and unread before it is too late. We have some leniency …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/10/15/the-city-the-city-by-china-mieville/

Sep 08 2018

Soviet Bus Stops, Volume II by Christopher Herwig

“‘This is bullshit,’ I mumbled, through tears of exhaustion and frustration. The chances of the 4×4 climbing the snowy Goderdzi Pass were as slim as the likelihood that the bus stop at the summit was the prize I so desperately sought. Why was I still doing this after fifteen years, why couldn’t I stop?” (p. …

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Jul 25 2018

An Interview With Nick Setchfield, author of The War In The Dark

Q: I was dead impressed by your idea to fuse the Cold War spy and occult horror genres, a concept I had yet to come across before reading your book. How did The War In The Dark evolve? A: As I discovered I’m actually following in the footsteps of a few people – Tim Powers, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/07/25/an-interview-with-nick-setchfield-author-of-the-war-in-the-dark/

Jul 18 2018

Viva Warszawa by Steffen Moeller

Quite by accident, Steffen Möller has found himself one of the most famous contemporary Germans in Poland. He moved there in the mid-1990s for no particularly profound reasons — looking for work, looking for things to be slightly different, looking into a society that was changing rapidly, looking at a place that was at once nearby …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/07/18/viva-warszawa-by-steffen-moeller/

Jun 10 2018

Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman

Everything I said here about the greatness of the first half of Life and Fate holds true for the second. What strikes me most is how consistently he captures the contradictions of humanity, in situations both mundane and extreme. Some people are pitiless one moment and turn around and show great compassion the next; they …

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Jun 06 2018

Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski

Sword of Destiny collects six stories that take place early in the personal history Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher; that is, a human who has gained supernatural fighting abilities through a combination of training and magic. He is the central figure of four previous books by Sapkowski: The Last Wish, Blood of Elves, The Time …

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May 14 2018

Mani: Travels in the Southern Peleponnese by Patrick Leigh Fermor

Mani grew in the telling. Patrick Leigh Fermor meant it “to be a single chapter among many, each of them describing the stages and halts, the encounters, the background and the conclusions of a leisurely journey … through continental Greece and the islands.” He undertook the journey, “to pull together the strands of many previous …

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May 12 2018

The House of Government by Yuri Slezkine — Halftime Report

One of the unexpected pleasures of The House of Government is Yuri Slezkine’s occasional playful way with words. Given the subject matter, and particularly given Slezkine’s argument that Bolshevism can best be understood as a millennarian sect that gained control of the state, a reader would be forgiven for thinking that his prose would range …

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