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Black Earth City: When Russia Ran Wild (And So Did We)
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Black Earth City: When Russia Ran Wild (And So Did We)

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  88 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
In September 1991, the Soviet Union is collapsing and people conquer uncertainty, hunger, and negative-twenty degree temperatures by drinking too much vodka and reveling in their new-found sexual freedom. Charlotte Hobson is our irresistible guide to this tumultuous time. We meet Yakov, who blows half-a-million rubles on a taxi to see a girl in Minsk; Lola, who sleeps with
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 1st 2003 by Picador (first published 2001)
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May 25, 2009 Kirsten rated it really liked it
A young British woman spends a year at university in a provincial Russian city and tells about it understatedly, unassumingly. This book is not about her and I admired that, while at the same time wanting it to be a little more about her, maybe selfishly wanting her to make sense of aspects of my own experience in Ukraine. Lots to chuckle over and nod my head in recognition:

"Russians have none of the contored, apologetic manner of the English. If you start out with 'Would you possibly be so kind
Sep 07, 2015 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, read-2015
This is a biographical account of the author’s student year in Russia, in the early 1990s. Names have been altered, and the details of some incidents also changed. But the bulk of the account is factual.

The author arrived shortly after the coup that began the fall of Communism, and spent her year amongst locals, learning the language and culture as part of the student community. So the account is a mixture of her personal life, the people she got to know, anecdotes from others, and comments on p
Feb 27, 2009 Elie rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
I was surprised at the strength of Hobson's storytelling and her humor, both of which carry the narrative of her time as a study-abroad in the early days of post-Soviet Russia. Her characters are vibrant and mostly drunk, and her ability to mock herself and find humor in strange situations is rare in travel writing or memoir. The book jacket says she's working on her first novel, and I'll keep my eye out for it.
May 01, 2016 Ruth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
C2001: FWFTB: Voronezh, winter, university, Russia, students. Happily, this was another unexpected Jewel to come out of the archives of the library. Beautifully written, evocative, funny and great plotting. It makes you want to know what happened to the various characters including the author. I couldn't stop reading it which is a real give away. Highly and definitely recommended to the normal crew. "You see the kind of society one mixes with in Voronezh,' he said after a while, summoning up a l ...more
Anne Hawn Smith
This is a fascinating book! The author was a college student from England who was in college in Voronezh during the tumultuous year which saw the break up of the USSR. Life there was changing daily and 70 years of anger and repression boiled up and was expressed in a chaotic existence. She showed what was happening in the lives of families and students who lived in a hostel/apartment as they tried to cope with the enormous changes in their lives.

The book is filled with raw emotion and pain. I f
Dec 18, 2015 Booksy added it
Shelves: read-2015
Great observations about the provincial life in Russia in the 90s, written with humour, witticism and yet with utmost respect for the people and the country. Very enjoyable read... although I so much wanted to know what happened to the love story. A great friend of mine who we worked together back in Russia was also one of those English students who spent a year on language exchange program in Voronezh, so when I saw this book, I knew I must read it, to find out what really happened in Voronezh. ...more
Fay Bee
Jun 28, 2012 Fay Bee rated it liked it
An inside view of Russia in 1991. A 20 something year old from England tells us about her experiences there, living in a seedy hostel amongst Russians and foreigners alike. Each chapter contains a very human story; thankfully politics wasn't a feature in this book. I enjoyed reading about the things you are never told or are aware of, like the day to day activities. Each chapter is prefaced with a Russian proverb or poem. Rather than making me understand Russia, this book has made me even more c ...more
Jan 10, 2010 Jaye rated it liked it
This was a really intersesting little book.

Set in the period just after the break-up of the Soviet Union, a young British woman of Russian parentage goes to school in a rather remote part of Russia.

Hobson tells of her experiences and discoveries, some funny and some poignant. It was a fascinating read for anyone interested in Russia, the Soviet Union or recent history.

I did find the promiscuity in the book a bit off-putting, but I still recommend the book.
Mar 08, 2013 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: misandry
The author was a British college student who was in Russia during the fall of the Soviet Union as a study abroad student. That part is interesting and she does well using her insider/outsider status to write about that time.

Dec 27, 2014 Norah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bookcrossing OBCZ Camphillbooks
Recommended to Norah by: Janine Prentice
Had another go at this while on holiday in Prague, but wasn't interested enough to finish it. Released through Bookcrossing to our new OBCZ Camphillbooks on 4th Nov 2014
Oct 02, 2013 Jodie rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
This was really interesting. I loved the authors writing style and completely got sucked in to the book.
4.5 stars
Jul 30, 2008 Ree rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An autobiographical tale of a student traveling to Russia right after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Sean Chick
Nov 28, 2013 Sean Chick rated it it was ok
This book was killed by its dull and lifeless prose.
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