Black Earth City
‘Exhilarating … An artful, original and touching account of a year in deepest Russia.’ Sunday Telegraph.
This reissue of Charlotte Hobson’s prize-winning debut offers a peerless insight into a country which we remain fascinated with to this day.
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Richly observed, this witty and yet deeply moving tale of Charlotte Hobson’s year travelling around Russia takes us to the heart of a country that we are continually interested in, yet can struggle to understand. As the TLS put it, Hobson writes with ‘such a beguiling directness that it is hard not to feel intimate with her and her characters. Few books evoke so much of Russian life, with so little effort.’
‘Each chapter is a bonne bouche, possessing its own particular flavour, from sweet to acrid-bitter. Hobson’s characters are often wonderfully quixotic and so is the spirit she finds everywhere at this crux in Russia’s history. She drinks with derelicts, hangs out with gypsies, and watches investigators go about the grim business of exhuming purge victims, and giving them the Christian burial they have been denied for seventy years. Her style is deft: she manages to render the scenes through which she passes with needle-sharp precision.’ Financial Times
Hobson's poignant tales of the friendships she developed... are told with something of the muted emotion that suffuses Chekhov's short stories.
How wonderful to read something about that country that does not only see everyday hardships, and is full of comedy, compassion and human understanding. From the black earth of Voronezh she has gathered a rich harvest.
Witty and observant, sensitive and above all, deeply sympathetic. Black Earth City is one of the most charming travel memoirs to come out of Russia for many years.
Remarkable... a declaration of love for people, place and time, all beautifully evoked.
Dazzling... one of the best travel books I've ever read.
Charlotte Hobson's memoir of her year in Voronezh is full of life and feeling for Russia and its people.
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