Baillie gifford essay 2008

Alexievich was not the first writer to chronicle the Soviet participation in the second world war through oral history. Ales Adamovich , a Belarusian whom Alexievich describes as her mentor, collected and published narratives from the front, but these seldom came from women. 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. Critics have objected to the lack of all but brief interlinking passages, but if anything the few that are there intrude: the effect of this seamless flow of voices is one of immediacy. Like Delbo’s Auschwitz and After , Alexievich’s book is a map not of events but of the character and emotions of those involved in them. 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. “It’s terrible to remember,” one woman told her. “But it’s far more terrible to forget.”

Baillie gifford essay 2008

baillie gifford essay 2008

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