ceausescu presidential sceptre (2)

‘The White King’: György Dragomán’s novel reviewed by Ian Mole

The eighteen stories of this 2007 book by György Dragomán, a Transylvanian Hungarian, can be enjoyed separately but also form a loose narrative set in the 1980s world of an unnamed country – undoubtedly Ceausescu’s Romania. Stretching over a period of about two years in the life of their narrator, 11-year-old Djata, the tales revolve…

Ian Mole | 09/10/2014
stalin falsified

Rethinking Stalin: Dr.Polly Jones at Pushkin House, by Valeriya Stepanuyk

The subject of the Stalinist past was a controversial topic even within the Soviet Union and now is perhaps even more so in Former Soviet States. Given this, it’s not surprising there were mixed feelings in anticipation of Rethinking the Stalinist Past in Soviet Union (1953-70) an event chaired on September 23rd at Pushkin House…

Valeriya Stepanuyk | 09/10/2014
Image by Antony Stanley

‘Not So Lucky’ – a short story from Romania, by Mike Ormsby

I remember this place, always will. I should have kept my mouth shut. Play with fire, right? But that was years ago. I can walk through Bucharest’s Gara de Nord feeling older and wiser, now. The big railway station looks so different today – modern, revamped. Shiny kiosks bulge with glossy magazines, rows of chocolate,…

Mike Ormsby | 08/10/2014
tibor fischer (2)

‘The Hungarian Tiger’: Tibor Fischer interviewed by Nick Barlay

Tibor Fischer has just written his ‘last will and testament’. Before anyone fears his impending demise or the legal implications for his literary estate, rest assured: he is still in rude health, and working on a new novel from his perch on Brixton Hill under the watchful eye of Sándor Márai photographed in his pre-war…

Nick Barlay | 13/08/2014

Esther Harper reviews ‘Into the Whirlwind’ by Eugenia Ginzburg (Persephone Books)

Rating:

Behind-the-scenes accounts of the lives of normal people in Stalin’s Russia are few and far between, so it’s a privilege to have read Eugenia Ginzburg’s memoirs of life as a victim of the period. Into the Whirlwind is a sobering and harrowing testament of one woman’s experience in the prison camp system, and it fills…

Esther Harper | 09/08/2014

Ian Mole reviews Miroslav Penkov’s ‘East of the West’.

Miroslav Penkov was born in Gabrovo, Bulgaria in 1982, seven years before the fall of the Communist regime, but he moved to the United States when he was eighteen and now lives in Texas.  This collection, which he wrote in English, comes in at just over two hundred pages and is composed of eight tales. After reading the dust-jacket…

Ian Mole | 02/08/2014