I made reference to Susan Richards’ book Lost and Found in Russia: Encounters in a Deep Heartland in my last post. I have not read the book, nor can I buy it unless I want to pay extra shipping from England. Lost and Found has yet to be published in the US. Too bad. As this Guardian review suggests, it sounds like a worthwhile read:
In the great tradition of Chekhov or Dostoevsky, her subjects live in the anonymous provinces, in the appropriately named town of Marx (what a great choice – at one point she was categorically informed by a telephone operator that “Marx does not exist, but Engels does”). The opening chapters are ones of pure despair. Richards describes struggling to capture the weird reality that just when we all thought the Russians should be celebrating the advent of democracy and freedom, their lives were collapsing around them. Provincial Russia knows a thing or two about hopelessness.
The subsequent 16 years of change have tested her characters to the limits – throwing some off into Siberia, a couple to the Crimea. Richards kept on going back, doggedly and affectionately following the lives they offer up.
Or you can get a taste yourself. OpenDemocracy has published a few excepts from the text:
And if that isn’t enough, Richards recently spoke at OpenDemocracy’s Russia evening in London. Anatol Lieven provided commentary.[podcast]http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/audio/Russia-evening-July-09.mp3[/podcast]