2017 | KW 37


Buchempfehlung der Woche

von A. L. Kennedy
A. L. Kennedy gehört zu den meistbeachteten Autorinnen in Großbritannien. Zuletzt sind in deutscher Übersetzung die Erzählbände "Der letzte Schrei" (Carl Hanser Verlag, 2015) und "Leises Schlängeln" (Karl Rauch Verlag, 2016) erschienen.

Vitaly Shentalinski
The KGB's Literary Archive
Aus dem Russischen von John Crowfoot, The Harvill Press, London 1997

In my relatively free country we writers are used to being ourselves, trying to earn a living, having friends, being in the world of literature, being safe to say and do what we love to. Shentalinski's book looks at the dark period of Stalin, Kolyma and the other Gulags when the suppression of writers and writing became epidemic with something like 1500 writers being tormented, tortured and then destroyed. His courageous and determined battle to release case histories and suppressed manuscripts fro the Lubyanka's wary and labyrinthine custody is detailed with clarity and humanity. And the sample cases themselves are laid bare. Writers whose hearts we know, among them Isaac Babel, Mikhail Bulgakov, and the remarkable Nina Hagen-Torn, are show descending into a furnace intended to evaporate them. The mad and clumsy fictions of any and every torture chamber are repeated. The techniques of inflicting pain are made clear as minds that could create some of the world’s greatest narratives are badgered, compromised and then broken, forced to betray themselves and others. Some dared to save themselves by remarkable feats of imagination, but most fell. H This is tragic history for any reader, but for any writer in any country it is also a challenge. When the madness came to our home would we flee and would we do it in time? Would we stay and compromise? Would we stay and risk not only ourselves but everyone we have touched by staying true to our voice? Would we risk that voice never being heard, because of its truth? Would we condemn ourselves to end our pains and would we condemn others too – would we send ripples of destruction out into other lives are our own is bruised and humiliated into silence. The mugshots, the anguished letters, the lies – they are deeply Russian and absolutely universal. This is an important and sadly necessary book.