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Hardcover I Want to Live: The Diary of a Young Girl in Stalin's Russia Book

ISBN: 0618605754

ISBN13: 9780618605750

I Want to Live: The Diary of a Young Girl in Stalin's Russia

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

Recently unearthed in the archives of Stalin's secret police, the NKVD, Nina Lugovskaya's diary offers rare insight into the life of a teenage girl in Stalin's Russia--when fear of arrest was a fact of daily life. Like Anne Frank, thirteen-year-old Nina is conscious of the extraordinary dangers around her and her family, yet she is preoccupied by ordinary teenage concerns: boys, parties, her appearance, who she wants to be when she grows up. As Nina...

Customer Reviews

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An ordinary life in extraordinary times

I was captivated by this presentation of the diaries of Nina Lugovskaya and recommend it to anyone moved by the affect of cataclysm on deeply human lives. Nina's words create the longing for the impossible ¬- wanting to meet the person at the centre of it all and wanting to know, wanting to feel, what her life was really like. How do you live a prosaic life in the midst of tumult? A life both 'ordinary' and 'extraordinary' at the same time - a fate shared then as now - by unknown millions. How do such situations come to exist, how do they come to warp the concerns of daily life? These questions remain vital for the world today. Think Iraq; Zimbabwe; North Korea; Chechnya; choose your country. The only qualifiers in works such as `I Want to Live' are the invisible hand of the editor - how much of the diary has been edited out? The reader may never know. The unnecessary value judgements of Nina's opinions included in some footnotes to chapters(how does this serve the author or the reader at all?) and the use of a colloquial style of translation, with cliched, TV expressions like - `anytime soon' - words that Nina herself would never have used. These things serve to degrade the reader's experience. An interesting feature of the diary is how Nina, especially for such a young person, seemingly knew about events in the Soviet Union that apparently she `shouldn't have' - could it be that the Soviet people knew more about the dreadful things happening in their society than western commentators give credence? Perhaps. In any case, `Bravo Lugovskaya!' a spirited `ordinary' life lived in sad and troubled times.
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