Shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize, ‘The Lives of Others’ by Neel Mukherjee tells the story of twenty-one year old Supratik Ghosh who has left his comfortable family home in Calcutta/Kolkata to join the Communist Party of India. Set primarily in 1967, the story alternates between Supratik’s new life as a Naxalite activist and guerilla fighter working in the rice fields of West Bengal and the everyday lives of the relatives he has left behind. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Communism
I was fascinated by the original premise of ‘Red Joan’ by Jennie Rooney which is based on the true story of Melita Norwood who was famously unmasked as the KGB’s longest serving British spy at the age of eighty-seven in 1999. In Rooney’s fictionalised version of events, Joan Stanley, an eighty-five year old woman living in the suburbs of south east London, receives a visit from two British intelligence operatives who have come to question her about her past after so many decades of silence. The story is cleverly told through a series of flashbacks as the links between Joan’s past and present are gradually revealed.
Firstly, I must thank F. C. Malby for her patience as she sent me a copy of her first novel ‘Take Me to the Castle’ several months ago and I have only just got round to reviewing it. Set in the Czech Republic in the aftermath of the collapse of communism, ‘Take Me to the Castle’ tells the story of a young woman called Jana and how the tumultuous political changes in her home country are affecting her life following the recent death of her dissident father. Much of the story also focuses on a love triangle between Jana and her two potential suitors, Milos and Lukas. Continue reading
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year, ‘The Last Hundred Days’ by Patrick McGuinness tells the story of a young British expat living in Romania at the time of the fall of Ceaucescu in 1989. Offered a job at a university, the unnamed narrator soon becomes embroiled in a web of corruption and betrayal. Loosely based on McGuinness’ own experiences, it is a shocking, sometimes brutal account of life under the shadow of a dictator and his rapid downfall. It is a story told with bleak authenticity. Continue reading