lynne naranek's Reviews > Metro

Metro by Alexander Kaletski
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's review
Mar 08, 2008

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bookshelves: 2008
Read in April, 2008

I just realised I read the wrong book! Not a problem, I enjoyed this book a lot, I just didn't quite understand why Patrick Rothfuss said it was like Gaiman's Neverwhere. Mystery solved - wrong book, LoL! He was actually referring to The Secret History of Moscow, by Ekaterina Sedia - if I manage to remember the name, I'll go look for it in the library today :-)


If you want more than a glimpse into how life was like in the USSR, but presented in such a way that you can't help but laugh while your heart cries out at the tragedy of it all, well, this book is excellent! A young boy visiting from the country gets lost in the Moscow subway and falls in love with it. Later he returns, determined to get into acting school not only because he wants to perform, but also to get out of getting drafted into the army. He meets and gravitates to a small but varied bunch of people, and together they go through trials and tribulations of life in Russia, no, in Moscow - pursuing propiskas (Moscow residency permits), careers, dealing with homelessness, politicians, government policies, etc etc etc. The portrait of the people, the attitude, the situation behind the iron curtain was eye-opening, amusing yet sad.

What makes it also a bittersweet read is the realisation that this is probably semi-autobiographical, and that the author lived through most, if not all, the events detailed in the book.
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