Svetlana Alexievich  <<

Boys in Zinc 

Published by

Vremya, Russia

W.W. Norton, USA

Hanser Berlin, Germany

Ersatz, Sweden

Czarne, Poland

edizioni e/o, Italy

Beijing Xiron Books, China

Kagge, Norway

Penguin Random House, Spain

Mamdouh Adwan Publishing, Syria

Munhakdongne, South Korea

Región Projekt, Slovakia

Rayo Verde Editorial, Spain (Catalan)

Fan Noli, Albania

Lindhardt og Ringhof, Denmark

Laguna, Serbia

De Bezige Bij, The Netherlands

20|20 Editora, Portugal

Grup Media Litera, Romania

Penguin Classics, UK

Pistorius & Olsanska, Czech Republic

Bukinist, Armenia

Owl Publishing House, Taiwan

Vivat Publishing Ltd., Ukraine

Nebesht Press, Iran

Navyug Publishers, India (Punjabi)

Alma littera, Lithuania

Artanuji Publishers, Georgia

Khuc Thi Hoa Phuong Women Publishing House, Vietnam

Európa Publishers, Hungary

Begemot Dooel, Macedonia

Actes Sud, France

Folio, Ukraine

Epsilon Yayincilik Ltd., Turkey

Published in 1991, this book hit like the explosion of a bomb. Alexievich was sued for libel and for “besmirching the honor of soldiers.” The book’s title comes from the thousands of soldiers who died during the Russian incursion into Afghanistan between 1979 and 1985 and were returned to Russia in zinc coffins. Alexievich weaves together the stories told by more than a hundred officers, enlisted men, wives, mothers and widows into an artfully elaborate collage. The tales that they tell about people who were mutilated by mines, about drugged murderous soldiers, about a mother desperately caressing a coffin so small that she cannot believe that it could contain her tall son, give Alexievich the opportunity to ask the question: “Who are we? How could all this be done to us and by us? Why did we believe it all?” This book is not only about war and criminal politics, but also about the clash of two entirely antithetical civilisations and the sheer senselessness and vanity of the idea of ever winning – whatever the superiority in arms technology – final victory over a demonized opponent.