Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexeivich, read by Julia Emelin and Yelena Shmulenson.
Bringing together dozens of voices in her distinctive style, The Unwomanly Face of War is Svetlana Alexievich's collection of stories from Soviet women who lived through the Second World War: on the front lines, on the home front and in occupied territories. As Alexievich gives voice to women who are absent from official narratives - captains, sergeants, nurses, snipers and pilots - she shows us a new version of the war we're so familiar with, creating an extraordinary alternative history from their private stories.
Published in 1985 in Russia and now available in English for the first time, The Unwomanly Face of War was Alexievich's first book and a huge bestseller in the Soviet Union, establishing her as a brilliantly revolutionary writer.
A must read
Extraordinary. . . it would be hard to find a book that feels more important or original. . . Alexievich's strength - and a mark of her own courage - is that she is forever on the lookout for the seemingly inconsequential, almost trivial human moments. . . Her achievement is as breathtaking as the experiences of these women are awe-inspiring
A revelation. . . Alexievich's text gives us precious details of the kind that breathe life into history . . . This is a book about emotions as much as it is about facts. It is not a historical document in the accepted sense. . . and yet ultimately, which historical documents are more important than this?
A profoundly humbling, devastating book, it should be compulsory reading for anyone wishing to understand the experience of the war and its haunting legacy in the former Soviet Union
These stories about the women warriors of Mother Russia are a symphony of feminine suffering and strength. . . Read this book. And then read it again
Astonishing. . . Her years of meticulous listening, her unobtrusiveness and her ear for the telling detail and the memorable story have made her an exceptional witness to modern times. . . This is oral history at its finest and it is also an essay on the power of memory, on what is remembered and what is forgotten
One of the most heart-breaking books I have ever read. . . I urge you to read it
The least well-known wonderful writer I've ever come across
As with her other books, terrifying documentation meets great artfulness of construction
Groundbreaking. . . a mosaic of Russian women's stories - from the home front to the front lines, from foot soldiers to cryptographers to antiaircraft commanders
Starting out as a journalist, Alexievich developed her own non-fiction genre, which brings together a chorus of voices to describe a specific historical moment. This is an extract from the lecture she delivered after winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 2015, along with the opening of her book, Chernobyl Prayer