Boys in Zinc
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Boys in Zinc

4.32 (2,789 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

'The least well-known wonderful writer I've ever come across' - Jenni Murray, BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour

'Alexievich's artistry has raised oral history to a totally different dimension' - Antony Beevor

Haunting stories from the Soviet-Afghan War from the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

- A new translation based on the revised 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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 17mm | 224g
  • PENGUIN CLASSICS
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0241264111
  • 9780241264119
  • 29,138

Review Text

Superbly translated... Alexievich's choice of truth as hero is the right one for the age of Putin and Trump Giles Whittell The Times
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Review quote

Superbly translated... Alexievich's choice of truth as hero is the right one for the age of Putin and Trump -- Giles Whittell * The Times * As shattering and addictive as Chernobyl Prayer, this is a polyphonic tour de force that shines a light on war, the plight of heroes, and why post-Soviet Russia is as it is -- Kapka Kassabova * Herald Scotland * A masterpiece of reportage * New York Review of Books * Alexievich is like a doctor probing the scar tissue of a traumatised nation -- Guy Chazan * Financial Times * What Alexievich is doing is giving voice to the voiceless, exposing not only stories we wouldn't otherwise hear but individuals as well -- David Ulin * Los Angeles Times * The least well-known wonderful writer I've ever come across -- Jenni Murray * BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour * Alexievich serves no ideology, only an ideal: to listen closely enough to the ordinary voices of her time to orchestrate them into extraordinary books -- Philip Gourevitch * New Yorker * Alexievich has become one of my heroes -- Atul Gawande The Belarusian writer has spent decades in listening mode. Alexievich put in thousands of hours with her tape recorder across the lands of the former Soviet Union, collecting and collating stories from ordinary people. She wove those tales into elegant books of such power and insight, that in 2015 she received the Nobel prize for literature -- Shaun Walker * Guardian * Alexievich's "documentary novels" are crafted and edited with a reporter's cool eye for detail and a poet's ear for the intricate rhythms of human speech. Reading them is like eavesdropping on a confessional. This is history at its rawest and most uncomfortably intimate -- Andrew Dickson * Evening Standard * Alexievich's artistry has raised oral history to a totally different dimension -- Antony Beevor
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About Svetlana Alexievich

Svetlana Alexievich (Author)
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'.
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Rating details

2,789 ratings
4.32 out of 5 stars
5 49% (1,368)
4 37% (1,020)
3 13% (352)
2 1% (39)
1 0% (10)
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