26 August 2010

Midnight in the Century

Victor Serge is one of the most undeservedly neglected writers of the twentieth century. He wrote under extremely difficult conditions, much of the time whilst living in exile - in his adopted homeland Russia, in France, and in Mexico. He frequently had to write in secret and he smuggled his work out of the Soviet Union to be published in France and Spain. His writing was banned throughout the communist period in Russia, and it has only been available there quite recently. His novels are presented in the form of self-contained chapters that sometimes appear to have very little connection with each other. Characters are developed, then suddenly seem to disappear, only to pop up again later in a different context. What Serge was doing was trying to capture the chaotic state of a world in political flux, and create representative figures rather than outstanding individuals - though in the end what he produced turned out to be not unlike the traditional European novel... more >>

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