Svetlana Alexievich is a curator of stories. She is neither strictly an oral historian nor a writer, but somehow straddles both of these worlds. In this fashion, Second-Hand Time is a remarkable catalogue of tales, parables and musings by people from the former Soviet Union, all documented from interviews between 1991 and 2012.
The result is a portrait of a population. Somehow in the multitude of voices that include everything from young to old, from wealthy gentry to starving immigrant, from the islands, Georgia, Belarus, Ukraine, Siberia there is an honest reflection of a complex people. In our current climate, this book also served as a timely warning (unheeded).