Europe Central

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Viking, 2005 - Fiction - 811 pages
7 Reviews
Audacious. Wildly ambitious. Prolific. All describe William T. Vollmann, author of the seven- volume nonfiction work Rising Upand Rising Downand the “Seven Dreams” sequence of novels, which the Chicago Tribunehailed as “likely to become one of the masterpieces of the century.”

In Europe Central, Vollmann presents a mesmerizing series of intertwined paired stories that compare and contrast the moral decisions made by various figures—some famous, some infamous, some unknown—associated with the warring authoritarian cultures of Germany and the USSR in the twentieth century. He conjures up two generals, one Russian and one German, who collaborate with the enemy for different reasons and with different results. Another pairing tells of two heroes—a female Russian partisan martyred at the beginning of World War II and a young German man who joins the SS in order to reveal its secrets and halt its crimes. Several stories concern the complex and elusive Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich and the Stalinist assaults against his work and life; also explored are the fates of artists and poets such as Kšthe Kollwitz, Anna Akhmatova, and the documentary filmmaker Roman Karmen. Europe Centralis another high-wire act of fiction by a writer of prodigious talent.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - librarianbryan - LibraryThing

Some folks enjoy light reading in summer, but I save those extra daylight hours for the heavies. I’d been dying to read William T. Vollmann’s massive cold war epic Europe Central since it won the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Lapsus16 - LibraryThing

Good book, good writing, engaging story, absurd political stance. Enough of Shostakovich as a victim of Stalin, there are tens of books written on this, all while people forget that at the same time ... Read full review

Contents

Steel in Motion Europe 19391945
3
The Saviors USSR 1918
13
Mobilization Germany 1914
32
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

William T. Vollmann is the author of eight novels, three collections of stories, a memoir, and Rising Up and Rising Down, which was a finalist for the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction. His 1996 story collection, The Atlas, won the PEN Center USA/West Award for best fiction and he was the recipient of a 1988 Whiting Writers Award. Vollmann¬'s journalism has been published in The New Yorker, Esquire, Harpers, Granta, Grand Street, and Outside Magazine.

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