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Reviews

  • If you read one memoir this year, let it be this

    Sunday Times, Books of the Year
  • A magical, timeless and important account of what life was really like under communism. Free brims with diamond-studded details, it lays bare the compromises, fear and betrayals of a secret police state, but is also an uplifting and humorous reminder of how much the human spirit can endure

    Alec Russell, Financial Times
  • Lea Ypi's Free is the first book since Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend that I have pressed on family, friends and colleagues, insisting they read it. . . a truly riveting memoir and a profound meditation on what it means to be free

    Ruth Scurr, Spectator, Books of the Year
  • Enthralling. . . a classic in the making

    David Abulafia, TLS, Books of the Year
  • Ypi's deliciously smart memoir of her Albanian girlhood at the end of the Cold War is a brilliant disquisition on the meanings of freedom - its lures, false hopes, disappointments and possibilities - in our time

    Lyndsey Stonebridge, New Statesman, Books of the Year
  • A tart and tender childhood memoir. But also a work of social criticism, and a meditation on how to live with purpose. . . A quick read, but like Marx's spectre haunting Europe, it stays with you

    The New Yorker, Best Books of 2021
  • An absorbing memoir of Ypi's Albanian childhood and its ideological delusions. The freedom she discovers is far more complex than we might expect

    Terri Apter, TLS, Books of the Year
  • A strange world and its legacy is now stunningly brought to life. Lea Ypi offers a moving and compelling memoir of growing up in turbulent times, as well as a frank questioning of what it really means to be "free"

    Frederick Studemann, Financial Times, Books of the Year
  • Lea Ypi's Free: Coming of Age at the End of History is a beautifully written account of life under a crumbling Stalinist system in Albania and the shock and chaos of what came next. In telling her story and examining the political systems in which she was raised, the author and LSE professor asks tough questions about the nature of freedom

    Guardian, Books of the Year
  • An astonishing and deeply resonant memoir about growing up in the last days of the last Stalinist outpost of the 20th century. . . What makes it so unforgettable is that we see this world, one about which we know so little, through the eyes of a child.. . It is more fundamentally about humanity, and about the confusions and wonders of childhood. Ypi weaves magic in this book: I was entranced from beginning to end

    Laura Hackett, Sunday Times

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