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By Marci Shore
An artistic, entirely unique examine the complicated psyche of jap Europe within the wake of the revolutions of 1989 and the outlet of the communist archives.
In the culture of Timothy Garton Ash’s The dossier, Yale historian and prize-winning writer Marci Shore attracts upon intimate knowing to light up the afterlife of totalitarianism. The style of Ashes spans from Berlin to Moscow, relocating from Vienna in Europe’s west via Prague, Bratislava, Warsaw and Bucharest to Vilnius and Kiev within the post-communist east. the result's a shimmering literary exam of the ghost of communism – now not Marx’s “specter to come” yet a haunting presence of the past.
Marci Shore builds her heritage round humans she got here to grasp over the process the 2 many years given that communism got here to an result in jap Europe: her colleagues and neighbors, once-communists and once-dissidents, the accusers and the accused, the interrogators and the interrogated, Zionists, Bundists, Stalinists and their little ones and grandchildren. For them, the post-communist second has no longer closed yet particularly has summoned up the prior: revolution in 1968, Stalinism, the second one international battle, the Holocaust. the tip of communism had a depressing side. As Shore pulls the reader into her trip of discovery, examining the archival documents of people that are themselves confronting the traumas of former lives, she unearths the intertwining of the private and the political, of affection and cruelty, of intimacy and betrayal. the result's a lyrical, touching, and occasionally heartbreaking, portrayal of ways background strikes and what historical past skill.
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Extra info for The Taste of Ashes: The Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe
For several days before, those who were going to take part made sure to vomit many times a day. The dancing ground was swept clean. If there was any refuse about the houses it was taken away. Thoughts were put in order too. Some of the figures in the dance were going to be the clowns, the spirits who mocked and scolded humanity, whose very thoughts they could see. And above all, there would be certain masked figures who came there from the other world. All the women knew that these were gods themselves—the spirits of rain and growth— who wore wooden coverings on their heads, trimmed with downy feathers, painted to represent the deities of the sky.
Who knew how much this was accidental, and how much devised by the Indian in his sense of propriety in the natural world, his reverence for all its aspects, and his general application in imitative symbols of all the living and enduring forms he knew about him? Even where his town stood above the river, the river dictated his farming methods; for the irrigation ditch leading from the river to the fields below the town was in itself but a tiny river in form, with the same general laws of flow, and reach, and structure as the big river.
In the morning again he arose and again the people saw him with joy. What they saw was not the sun himself but a large mask that covered his whole body. By his light everyone saw that the world was large and beautiful. The sun saw and knew, like any other person. THE STUFF OF L I F E 25 And others said that he walked through the sky dressed in white deerskin which flashed with countless beads. His face, hidden by a mask, was beautiful. They said he was the father of the twin boys, Masewi and Oyoyewi, the young gods of war, who protected the people by killing their enemies.
The Taste of Ashes: The Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe by Marci Shore