A Book A Week Challenge – Week 50

Svetlana Alexievich who won Nobel Prize in Literature in the year 2015 referred to her work as “novels in voices”, a term that would translate in reference to the works of history that passed through the generations, not in written form but orally. During her Nobel speech, she dedicated the prize to her native Belarus calling it “a small country caught in a grinder throughout the history.”


Book #: 50

Title: Second Hand Time” by Svetlana Alexievich

Pages: 584

It might seem ironic to talk about Russia or a nation part of earlier Soviet Union in the terms of “sleeping with tanks outside the walls”, wherein the present day the same country is being held responsible for making other country feel the same. It is definitely not a good thing to happen. No, it isn’t. It is not a good thing for what is happening in Aleppo as much as it occurred in a Soviet nation.

Svetlana Alexievich in her book that narrates the lives of individuals from various corners of life who believed in the promises of peace and survival and were utterly shattered. The stories move across the country both in terms of times and virtual reality, with references made into Red Interior and out of Red Interior.

As we come to end of another year, as we humans progress in terms of technology way beyond limits, it is something feels only superficial with an emotion that says there are people out there who are struggling for mere existence. That was supposed to be the phase of our evolution when our species started out. The applicability of this book set in the times more than a century apart tells us the little progress that we falsely believe we achieved.


Overall, Svetlana Alexievich makes you experience various emotions that the war-ridden Soviet nation common lives had to survive with. More than a century apart asks the same set of questions as she puts it “And the future seems to have stopped standing in its proper place. Our time comes to us second-hand”


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