In Second-hand Time, Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich writes the life stories of housewives, artists, party workers, students, soldiers and traders living through a time of political upheaval – the fall of the Soviet Union and the two decades that followed it. As they tell her their secrets, their passions, their sorrows, their hopes, she builds a picture of a nation and of lived history, as epic as the greatest of novels. ‘Dramatic chronicles as universally essential as Greek tragedies.’ Philip Gourevitch, New Yorker ‘Alexievich’s voices are those of people that no one cares about, but the ones whose lives constitute the vast majority of what history actually is . . . This is history, major history, but written, as all history should be, from below.’ Guardian ‘Deeply reported narrative non-fiction written with the sweep and style of a novel.’ New York Times.
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Svetlana Alexievich was born in the Ukraine in 1948. She has spent most of her life in the Soviet Union and present-day Belarus, where she worked as a journalist, with prolonged periods of exile in Western Europe. She won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature for ‘her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time’