The People's Act of Love
That’s not what this book is about.
In Siberia in 1919, a forgotten Czech troop holds the town of Yaszyk. The town is mainly populated by an extreme sect of castrate Christians. It’s about history, revolution, Russia. It’s about ideals, cold and rational, brushing up against natural, warm-blooded reality. And it’s about love. What is love? What are its boundaries? What would you do ...more
And, The End Justifies The Means?, 17 Jan 2006
"He's not a destroyer; he is destruction, leaving these good people who remain to build a better world on the ruins. What looks like an act of evil to a single person is the people's act of love to its future itself." Samarin pretending to speak of another, but really speaking of himself.
James Meek has written a marvelous story-telling in this novel. At once so well written you would think he was writing in Russia of 1920. This is the time of the Ru ...more
I’ve read somewhere one comment about the books as if ”Anna Karenina meets Silence of the Lambs” and that’s pretty much true with the diff ...more
This book is about several different characters who throughout the book realize who they are, who they love and the meaning of life. This book sounds a little mushy but its not. The author is very real which makes the book easy to relate to.
I would suggest that everyone read th ...more
When I was younger, and not a wage earner, I used to dream about having my own library instead of having to rely on the public ones. Never again would I have to search or reserve the latest works of my favourite authors, because I'd simply buy them and read when I was i ...more
The main theme in this book is as the title suggests - love. Love in all it's various forms; parents for children, children for parents, spouses towards each other, men and women ...more
The fact that it is a book about war and fanaticism of ideas and to some degree about communism should have made me give it up. I was unable to because the language surprised me and enchanted my senses to the point of addiction. James Meek is a poet at heart. Almost every page had a line or two, an association of words that made me stop an ...more
i saw another member had posted a one sentence review. 'what you expect from Russian novels that gets lost in the translation.' given that i have never read an original Russian as well as it's translat ...more
It’s the last dark days of the Russian Revolution. The hard times have left their mark all over the place. Among the population of this hellish village of Yazyk are: Anna a passionate, widowed single mother, a group of stranded Czech soldiers with a cocaine addicted Captain, a separatist Christian sect obsessed with purity, a creepy local shaman and--bonus-- the Re ...more
The novel revolves around a disjointed-yet-inherently-connected group of complex characters coexisting in a ruthless Siberia at the end of The Russian Revolution. And it is about love. Just not the fluffed up, butterfl ...more
The premise, quite simply, is superb. The drama of events unfolding in the wake of the literally revolutionary changes in early 20th century russia, and the unique and powerful story of Czech soldiers stranded on the trans siberian railway, makes for an unforgettable backdrop. I thoroughly recommend familiarising oneself with the history of the period, simply be ...more
But the similarities I keep finding aren't as much to writers as to movies; Col mentioned Ravenous, the praising of which I would like to join, but I also ...more
I started it, put it down, gritted my teeth and picked it up again, and slowly became engrossed in the story. Once all the main characters were in one place, Yazyk, the story started to make more sense. Did I like it? I’m still not sure! I admired the intelligence, the multi layers of story that embr ...more
in a turbulent post-revolution siberia, the town of yazyk is populated by militant czech occupiers and an extremist christian cult -- groups in seeming polar ...more
That most critics compared this intellectual epic novel to those by the Russian Greats__Tolstoy and Dostoevsky__attests to its power. A study of fanaticism and faith, People's Act draws a broad canvas of human history in its convincing depictions of battle, prison life, politics, romance, and revolution. Meek, an English novelist and Moscow correspondent, also creates pitch-perfect dialogue, deep characterizations, and affecting imagery. In the vein of Russian novels, much philosophizing takes p...more
The story was, at times, too far out for me. Then again, I've read enough non-fiction to know that there are few things "too far out" when it comes to the extremes of human behavior. People do amazing things in pursuit of faith and survival. People also become very cruel animals under circumstances that need not be extreme at all.
I left the book most appreciative of the display ...more
It's quite a read and the characters are deep and individual. This book isn't for everyone, I think if you don't have a knowledge of, or an interest in, the strangeness that is Russia and its history this mi ...more
It is about extremes - extremes of character, of climate and setting, of need and of what man (or woman) will do to fulfill their need.
It is about perception - of love, of attraction, of war and of instinctive responses by individuals to individuals.
It is a story of intrigue, a story of disclosure, and of secrets.
It is a story o a brutal world during a brutal period of history.
It took me a little while to engage with the story, as initially I wasn't sure whet ...more
- cranky as hell
- probably has scale model trains in basement
- has a proud collection of hardcover books about 20th century wars published in 1960
- dust jackets thereof ripped from overuse
- condescendingly rolls eyes when you get a minor historical fact wrong in conversation
- hates cocktail parties
- is THAT GUY at cocktail parties
- drinks vodka straight at cocktail parties
- because that's how the Russians did it during the war
- mildl ...more