Review: The Captain of the Steppe by Oleg Pavlov

‘It was easy to fall into Karabas, as easy as falling down a hole, but it was hard, to put it bluntly, to get out again.’
~Oleg Pavlov, Captain of the Steppe

Plot summary

“In the beginning of this short novel, Captain Khabarov, commander of Sixth Company in Karabas, Kazakhstan, embarks on a seemingly straightforward mission: he will order his men to plant, rather than eat, their meager potato rations.

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Review: Imperium by Ryszard Kapuściński

“I thought about the terrible uselessness of suffering. Love leaves behind its creation-the next generation coming into the world; the continuation of humanity. But suffering? Such a great part of human experience, the most difficult and painful, passes leaving no trace. If one were to collect the energy of suffering emitted by the millions of people here [Magadan, Russia] and transform it into the power of creation, one could turn our planet into a flowering garden. But what would remain?”
~Ryszard Kapuściński, Imperium

Plot summary

“Now, in Imperium, Kapuściński gives us a work of equal emotional force and evocative power: a personal, brilliantly detailed exploration of the almost unfathomably complex Soviet empire in our time.

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